This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.
Thanks, King County.
Prosecutors there have struck a deal with Andre Brigham Young, a violent sex offender who was convicted of raping six South Sound women over a 23-year period, to be released from the state’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.
But he won’t be living in King County. He’s registered as a Level 3 sex offender (the class most likely to offend) at a Tacoma address: the 2100 block of South M Street.
Releasing Young to Pierce County isn’t the problem: This is considered his “county of origin” due to the fact that his first rape conviction, in 1963, was here. He also raped women in King and Thurston counties.
But King County prosecutors at least should have given their counterparts in Pierce County a heads-up that an untreated, particularly nasty serial rapist was headed their way. That didn’t happen.
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist said he was “outraged and alarmed” to learn that Young was being released Wednesday to Tacoma with one day’s notice.
As part of the deal with King County, Young agrees not to commit new crimes against women, contact his victims, use drugs or alcohol, possess weapons or pornography, or visit adult-entertainment businesses.
But for all intents and purposes, it’s an unconditional release because there is no monitoring, no supervision or followup to determine if he’s complying with those “conditions.” If somehow he were found to be in violation, it wouldn’t necessarily mean he’d be returned to the SCC, only that he could face a trial to determine if that should happen.
Young was confined to the SCC for 20 years after he’d completed his prison time for the rapes. There he refused treatment – like more than half of the facility’s “residents.” He’s tried for years to get out of the SCC and was the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court case to determine whether civil commitment of violent sex offenders after serving their prison sentences was constitutional. The court ruled for the state of Washington, deciding that such confinement was comparable to involuntary commitment of the mentally ill.
Now, at 69, Young has been found by three psychological experts to no longer be likely to re-offend.
Lindquist begs to disagree.
“Sex offenders are more at risk of re-offending than other types of offenders,” he said Thursday. Although some people “grow out” of their tendency to offend, that’s “not true with sex offenders.”
Referring to violent sex offenders as “sociopathic,” Lindquist says, “You can’t convince me that he’s suddenly become a law-abiding citizen.” Young reportedly is physically fit and says he still jogs – a pastime linked to some of his crimes.
If it had been up to him, Lindquist says, he would not have negotiated with Young; he would have gone to trial and tried to make the case for keeping him at the SCC. He’s currently exploring whether Pierce County has any options other than complying with the deal King County made with Young.
In the meantime, this is one Level 3 sex offender who deserves extra scrutiny from the Tacoma Police Department.