Second trial opens in civil commitment

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WALLA WALLA — A second trial is being held in Walla Walla County Superior Court to determine if a man convicted in the past of four sexually violent crimes should be locked up indefinitely as a sexually violent predator.

A jury was selected and opening statements were presented Monday in the civil commitment trial of Kenneth Longsdorff. Testimony was scheduled to begin this morning.

The trial is expected to last several days.

Longsdorff’s first trial in July was cut short when a mistrial was declared because attorneys involved received late production of a neuropsychological report. Longsdorff’s attorney, Robert Thompson of Pasco, said he couldn’t proceed without more preparation time.

In April 2009, the state Attorney General’s Office filed a petition asking that Longsdorff be declared a sex predator. If a jury makes such a finding at his trial, he will continue to be held at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island “for control, care and treatment” until his condition changes.

Longsdorff allegedly suffers from a mental abnormality, specifically pedophilia. The condition “causes him to have serious difficulty controlling his dangerous behavior and makes him likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence unless confined to a secure facility,” the AG’s petition says.

Longsdorff was scheduled to be released from the Washington State Penitentiary on April 27, 2009, after completing his latest criminal sentence. Instead, at the request of the AG’s Office, he was ordered detained without bail pending the outcome of the sex predator civil case.

Longsdorff, now 62, pleaded guilty in 1993 in Walla Walla County to first-degree child molestation. He had sexual contact with a boy from about 1982-1990 when the child was 5-13 years old, according to a document filed in court by the AG’s Office.

In 1992, he was sentenced in Benton and Franklin counties for raping three boys in those jurisdictions during the latter part of the 1980s to early 1990s.

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