David Allyn Dokich - Serial Child Rapist / High Risk Sex Offender

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sac Bee Special report: A test case

Freedom is the goal for sexually violent predators such as James Lamb, but it's difficult to measure their risk of re-offending

By Mareva Brown and Sam Stanton

Inside the oatmeal-colored walls of Atascadero State Hospital, it is easy to tell the psychiatric patients from the sexually violent predators.

The sex offenders seem sane.

They can make eye contact, argue a reasoned point, cite legal precedents and, in twice-weekly group therapy sessions, those who participate can explain why their crimes were wrong and openly empathize with their victims.

UCDavis Health
Offender James Vincent Lamb's likely release later this year will put the state's program for treating sexually violent predators to its ultimate test. Lamb says he will be one of the successes, in part because he has done all that was asked of him at the maximum-security mental hospital - and more.

"I'm not part of a statistic, I'm in a program that is rare and intensive," said Lamb, 46, who was convicted of molesting five boys but has admitted to more than 80 victims. "The people here are teaching us what we need to look at, to change and to believe in it."

But evidence abounds that sexual obsessions may persist for some of the hundreds of men housed at Atascadero, who fill about half of the hospital's beds: Newspaper ads depicting children are routinely snipped out and hidden away, patients here say. In the exercise yard, patients tell of pedophiles preying on the youngest of the mentally disordered offenders, coercing them into having sex.

At shift change, as female staffers move through the halls to and from work, a small cadre of men emerge from their dorm rooms to watch and follow them through the wide, crowded hallways where patients and staff intermingle.

"There's guys who stalk these hallways," said Tony Iannalfo, a rapist from Los Angeles County who has been at Atascadero for eight years. "It's unbelievable. You can see them out there the same time every day, the same place."

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