2014 Champaign Officer of the Year: A Sexually Dangerous Person?

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Jerad Gale, chosen as “Officer of the Year” for the Champaign Police Department, has been arrested for raping and strangling two different women. Since his arrest, another victim and a former girlfriend have come forward alleging similar crimes were committed against them by Gale, and he faces those charges as well. He was also accused of sexual assault in 2007, but was unable to be prosecuted due to a three-year statute of limitations. Somehow, he was awarded the Officer of the Year honor in spite of this. He is not likely to repeat that award, and in fact, prosecutors are trying to have him named a “sexually dangerous person.”

What is a “Sexually Dangerous Person” in Illinois?

The Illinois Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (“The Act”) defines “sexually dangerous persons” as all persons suffering from a mental disorder for longer than a year who have also “criminal propensities” to commit sex offenses and have either committed prior acts of sexual assault or sexual molestation of children. Pursuant to this definition, the prosecutors in this case are seeking a designation of “sexually dangerous person” for Gale, and his motion to dismiss the petition has been denied.

What Happens Now That a Petition has Been Filed by Prosecutors?

Now that the prosecutor has filed a motion and petition seeking Gale be designated as a sexually dangerous person, there will be a civil proceeding to determine whether or not he should receive this designation. As part of the process, the court will appoint two evaluators (mental health professionals) to examine Gale. To be qualified evaluators, the appointees must be psychologists or other medical professionals who are qualified in evaluating sex offenders. They will evaluate whether or not Gale is in fact a sexually dangerous person, and file separate reports that summarize their findings. The court will make the determination based on the reports of the two qualified examiners.

Consequences if Designated as a Sexually Dangerous Person in Illinois

If the court grants the prosecutors’ motion and designates Gale as a sexually dangerous person, he faces serious repercussions. Basically, Gale could be involuntarily and indefinitely committed in lieu of facing criminal prosecution as a result. The Act provides that when a petition for the designation of sexually dangerous person is granted, then Gale will be involuntarily committed for treatment.

During the time when Gale (or any person designated as a sexually dangerous person) is committed, the criminal charges remain pending in court. If a time comes in the future when a court determines Gale is no longer dangerous, he will be discharged from commitment and all criminal charges that were pending and formed the basis for the commitment are dismissed.

The Law Offices of David Freidberg Defend Against These Claims

We are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready to vigorously defend any person that the state is trying to declare a sexually violent person and thus commit to an indefinite term of incarceration. There are a number of defense strategies Mr. Freidberg may advance to avoid this designation. If you are facing a petition to have you designated as a sexually dangerous person, it is important to seek experienced legal representation from an Cook County sex crimes attorney.  Contact us today at 312-560-7100 or email us, for a complimentary consultation to learn how we can fight for you.