Stephen Robinson admitted to sexually assaulting more than a hundred girls under the age of eight. His first victim was a toddler from Kennewick, whom he sodomized for more than six months. He openly confessed his heinous crimes and his compulsion to offend again. But, he's served his time and is due to be set free.
It's frightening even to the state's Attorney General. "I am a father of 5-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. You cannot read the facts of Robinson's past without a great sense of disgust, but also a great sense of responsibility to make sure he's not released into our community," said Bob Ferguson, Washington's Attorney General.
On Friday, the state's Attorney General's office will petition a Benton County Judge to stop Robinson's release. Instead, they will ask for a civil commitment. It's an obscure law that Washington passed in the 1990's, and was first state in the union to do so.
"After a sexually violent predator has served their prison term, that individual can be civilly committed to McNeil Island," he said. Very few violent offenders meet this criterion to be held after their sentence, but the hope is that Robinson will qualify.
"It's a high standard, but given his past and his own admissions of over 100 children, we believe he meets this criteria," said Ferguson. In fact, if you take the worst sex offenders, a psychologist thinks Robinson is twice as likely to reoffend compared to those guys. His original conviction for indecent liberties with a child under the age of 14, back in 1984, doesn't come close to describing the horrific nature of his crimes.
The victim, a Kennewick 3-year-old, was raped repeatedly for 6 months. His violence, psychologists say, places him above the top four percentile of sex offenders. For those who say our justice system is broken, our civil commitment law was set up to protect against his very release.
"My job as Attorney General is to make sure that doesn't happen. I am going to use every tool within the state laws to make sure that doesn't happen," he said.
Robinson told a therapist, if he raped again he'd be more likely to murder the child because "kids are more likely to talk." Admissions he would be unable to control his urges are fuel for the state's fire and they're hoping enough to snuff out any chance of a release.
It's important to note, even if Robinson does get committed to McNeil Island, it's not forever. Once a year, he is allowed a hearing to discuss possible release. If he is released, there is a chance he would return to the Tri-Cities where he has confirmed ties to the community.