MARTINEZ (CBS SF) — A judge in Martinez on Friday found that repeat sex offender Carey Verse was no longer a sexually violent predator and ordered him released from a state mental hospital where he had been held since February, his attorney Laurie Mont said.
Verse, a 40-year-old Bay Point resident, was convicted of four sex offenses in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
He completed his prison sentences in 1998, but because of his history of sexual offenses, he was not released.
Instead, he was sent to Atascadero State Mental Hospital, where he underwent treatment in the hospital’s sexually violent predator program.
In 2004, Verse became only the second person classified as a sexually violent predator to win release under the State Department of Mental Health’s conditional release program.
Those conditions included 24-hour satellite monitoring and restrictions on who he could associate with and under what conditions. He was also chemically castrated during parts of his release.
In February, Verse was arrested for having an illicit friendship with a man from his therapy group, which was one of the many things forbidden by the conditional release program.
Judge John Kennedy found no evidence that there was a sexual component to the friendship. But the friendship itself was forbidden and Verse had lied about it, so the judge ordered him to be re-committed, this time to Coalinga State Hospital, which now houses the state’s sexual violent predator program.
Verse’s commitment at the hospital has since expired and at least two state evaluators found that he was no longer a sexually violent predator, Mont said.
Mont filed a petition to have him released. During a hearing today, Kennedy found there was no legal reason to hold him and ordered him to be released, this time without supervision from the state’s conditional release program, Mont said.
Verse will, however, be subject to the state department of justice’s sex offender registration laws. As somebody who was once classified as a sexually violent predator, he will be required to register every 90 days and, among other restrictions, he will be prohibited from living near a school, playground or any place where children congregate.
Mont said it would take the hospital at least 72 hours to process the paperwork for Verse’s release.
When Verse was first released from the hospital in 2004, he lived in three motels and an abbey, but communities wherever he went protested to his presence.
“He was despised, reviled and excoriated by hundreds of people,” Mont said.
Finally, two attorneys, Anthony Ashe and Araceli Ramirez, offered to rent him a cottage behind their law offices in Bay Point, Mont said.
They chose to help Verse because of their religious beliefs, she said.
“They really stuck their necks out,” Mont said, and even wrote a letter to the judge saying that they had never had any problems with Verse as a tenant or received any complaints about him.
“He’s been a perfect tenant,” Ramirez said.
“We’ve never had a complaint from any neighbors and the immediate neighbors feel safe in his presence,” she said.
Ashe noted that it has been more than 20 years since Verse’s last offense.
“You can either believe that people can change for the better or not and we choose to believe that they can,” Ashe said.
Mont said that Verse has joined their church and receives a lot of support from the Jehovah’s Witness community.
Ramirez and Ashe also said he attended Diablo Valley College, where he graduated at the top of his class in food service and restaurant management.
The couple told the judge Verse was welcome to return to Bay Point if he wanted to.
Mont said she feels that Verse has earned his release and she does not believe he is at risk of re-offending.
“He has made it his life goal for there to never be another victim,” Mont said.
She also said that support from the community and his desire to become a productive member of the community will greatly reduce the chance of his re-offending.
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