Child predator Stephen Robinson remains in custody pending new court date

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Violent child predator Stephen Robinson will not be released Friday.

The 56-year-old appeared in court today, asking with his defense attorney for a continuance on the state's probably cause hearing. His appointed attorney said in court she had only met with Robinson for the first time last night and did not have sufficient time to prepare his defense.

The court granted his request, setting a new hearing date in mid-September. The actual date of his hearing has not yet been determined. Robinson will be held at McNeil Island until then.

Robinson has admitted to being a serial child rapist, telling prison psychologists he has molested, raped and sodomized over 100 girls. His first conviction came in 1984 for raping a Kennewick 3-year-old over the course of six months.

Robinson was scheduled to be released from the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla on Friday, but Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Robinson remains a threat and should be held indefinitely at the state's Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.

"Mr. Robinson has admitted to more than 100 heinous assaults on young girls and must not be released into our community," Ferguson said in a press release. He told authorities that he would seek out and attack other young girls if released, Ferguson said.

The attorney general's office filed a petition Tuesday in Benton County Superior Court, a first step in seeking a civil commitment. A probable cause hearing could be held as early as Friday. If probable cause is found, Robinson will be transported to the Special Commitment Center pending trial.

The unit was established in 1990 following enactment of the state's sexually violent predator law, which permits the involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders who are likely to commit acts of sexual violence if released to the community.

As of April, there were 296 sexually violent predators civilly committed in Washington state.