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Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008 03:31 pm

Jury finds Seidler a “sexually violent person”

He’ll stay behind bars and get treatment

In November 1983, Kenneth Seidler of Springfield broke into the home of a 48-year-old woman and raped her in front of her two young daughters. He was convicted of rape by a Sangamon County jury and sent to the Illinois Department of Corrections to serve a 40-year sentence.

Because "truth in sentencing" laws, which mandate that Class X felons serve 85 to 100 percent of their time, weren't enacted until the 1990s, after Seidler's conviction, he was scheduled for release in March 2006.

But Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office has other plans for the 56-year-old, who, according to IDOC, also has prior convictions for attempted murder and armed robbery.

The Sexually Violent Persons Bureau, which handles state prosecutions of sex offenders, filed a petition to commit Seidler to the Illinois Department of Human Services for further evaluation and treatment. After he was released from prison, Seidler was detained at the Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility, where for the past two years he has awaited trial on whether he should be designated a Sexually Violent Person (SVP).

Last week a Sangamon County jury officially gave him that designation and ordered him to remain in IDHS custody. On Oct. 29, the court will consider two options of treatment: conditional discharge or continued Rushville commitment.

According to the 1998 Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, anyone convicted of a sexually violent offense, such as rape or aggravated criminal sexual assault, is evaluated within three months of release to determine if he or she meets criteria for commitment as a SVP. If the court determines the offender is likely to be committed, he or she is detained at the IDHS Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility for further evaluation and eventual trial.

Scott Mulford, spokesperson for Madigan's office, says that Seidler and other sex offenders meet criteria for SVP if they exhibit a mental disorder that would predispose them to commit further acts of sexual violence.

"What we're talking about are the prime factors that prompt the state and the Attorney General through the Act to keep these people in the care and custody of the state while the process moves along, as opposed to allowing them out on the streets," Mulford says.

Tom Green, a spokesperson for IDHS, says almost all SVPs are committed to Rushville first — only one out of the 223 convicted sex offenders committed went directly to conditional release. Currently, there are 205 SVPs committed at Rushville and 147 others are detained, awaiting evaluation or trial.

If Seidler is committed to Rushville, his treatment could include individual and group therapy sessions, medication and therapy for anger management, mental illness or substance abuse. After six months, he would be reevaluated and possibly slated for conditional release.

If he was released, Seidler would undergo training on how to avoid inappropriate situations and how to comply with the various restrictions associated with SVP status, Green explains. If evaluation determines he should remain at Rushville, Seidler would continue treatment and be reevaluated every 12 months.

For more information on the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, visit www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov.

Contact Amanda Robert at arobert@illinoistimes.com.

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