Pedophilia Diagnosis, in Combination with Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD), Substance Abuse Disorders, Failed Treatment and History of Sexual Misconduct, Constituted Sufficient Proof Respondent Had Serious Difficulty Controlling His Behavior Warranting Civil Commitment
The First Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice Richter, reversed Supreme Court (which had set aside the jury verdict) and determined civil commitment of respondent sex offender was supported by the evidence. The case is another attempt to interpret and implement the criteria for civil commitment laid out by the Court of Appeals in Matter of State of New York v Donald DD. (Kenneth T.), 24 NY 3d 174 (2014). The respondent here was diagnosed with pedophilia, which, combined with anti-social personality disorder (ASPD), substance abuse disorders, respondent’s history of sexual misconduct, and his failure to benefit from treatment programs, was deemed sufficient proof respondent had difficulty controlling his behavior:
In Kenneth T., the State’s expert testified that Kenneth T. suffered from paraphilia not otherwise specified (paraphilia NOS) and ASPD, and that, together, these disorders predisposed him to committing sexual misconduct and resulted in his having serious difficulty controlling that conduct. In concluding that Kenneth T. had the requisite serious difficulty, the expert identified two factors: the fact that Kenneth T. had carried out two rapes under circumstances allowing for identification by his victims, and the fact that he committed the second rape despite having spent significant time in prison for the earlier rape. In finding this evidence legally insufficient, the Court stated that the serious difficulty prong could rarely, if ever, be satisfied from the facts of a sex offense alone … .
Here, in contrast, [the State’s expert] did not solely rely on the facts of respondent’s sex offenses in concluding that he had serious difficulty controlling his urges. Instead, Dr. [the expert] based his opinion on respondent’s triple diagnosis (pedophilia, ASPD and substance abuse disorders), his pattern of sexual misconduct, and his abject failure to satisfactorily progress in treatment. Notably, the underlying sexual disorder in Kenneth T. was paraphilia NOS, not pedophilia. The distinction is critical because, unlike paraphilia, pedophilia can only be diagnosed where the individual has actually acted upon sexual urges towards prepubescent children (or has experienced significant distress at those urges) for more than six months. Thus, pedophilia, by definition, involves an element of difficulty in control. Further, the DSM-5 explicitly recognizes that the dangerous combination of respondent’s ASPD and pedophilia increases the likelihood that he will act out sexually with children (see DSM-5 at 699). In addition, the diagnosis of respondent’s substance abuse disorders, not present in Kenneth T., provides a further basis for the jury’s finding of serious difficulty. * * *
By this decision, we do not hold that all offenders who suffer from pedophilia are automatically, by virtue of that diagnosis alone, subject to mandatory civil management. We simply hold that the State’s evidence in this case — including respondent’s multiple diagnoses, his history of sexual misconduct, his admitted inability to control his pedophilic urges, his lack of satisfactory progress in sex offender treatment and his failure to have a viable relapse prevention plan — was legally sufficient to uphold the jury’s conclusion that respondent has difficulty controlling his sexually offending behavior. Matter of State of New York v Floyd Y., 2015 NY Slip Op 08102, 1st Dept 11-10-15