Friday, August 31, 2012

WARNING! Repeat sex offender to be released into community today- OCDA

Posted by CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - The Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) issued a warning today to inform the public that a rapist who continually fails to register as a sex offender will be released into the community after a jury determined that he did not meet the criteria of a sexually violent predator (SVP). Dennis Craig McDaniel, 55, will be released this evening, Aug. 31, 2012, and has indicated that he plans to move to Fort Worth, Texas, to a residential treatment facility. McDaniel is no longer on parole but will be required to register as a sex offender within five days of release and be listed on the Megan's Law website.

Deputy District Attorney Peter Finnerty tried the case on behalf of the OCDA and following the jury's decision today argued a motion for a new trial. The motion was denied by the Honorable David Hoffer and the respondent was ordered released.

The OCDA believes McDaniel poses a danger to the community based on his numerous sexual crimes of a predatory nature, repeated failure to register as a sex offender, and multiple parole violations indicating that he in incapable of following the law.

Under the law, persons convicted of a sexually violent offense are subject to mental health reviews by the Department of Mental Health (DMH) once they have completed their criminal sentence. If DMH determines that the respondent is likely to reoffend a sexually violent crime, the OCDA may file a petition to have the respondent civilly committed and a jury is presented evidence in a trial to decide if the respondent is a continued threat to the community.

There are three criteria that must be met in order to designate a person as a SVP. First, the respondent must have committed at least one sexually violent offense.  Second, he/she must be diagnosed with a mental disorder.  Finally, it must be found that he/she is likely to re-offend unless he/she is held in custody and treated.

If a unanimous jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the respondent meets the SVP criteria, the respondent is committed to a secure mental care facility for treatment until he/she is safe for release.

Evidence Presented in SVP Trial
During the SVP trial, the OCDA presented evidence that the respondent has a lengthy criminal history involving multiple sexual and violent arrests and convictions and inability to abide by the law, as evidenced by his repeated parole violations.

In 1976, McDaniel was convicted in Orange County for indecent exposure for exposing his penis to a woman in a public place. He was ordered to register as a sex offender.

In December 1978, McDaniel was driving at approximately 6:30 a.m. and passed a 19-year-old woman walking down the street in Santa Ana. The respondent parked his truck, approached the victim, and asked her for the time. He then passed her, turned around, and approached the victim from behind. McDaniel grabbed the victim and began to drag her across the street. The terrified victim fought to get away and bit the respondent, who then released his grip. The victim was able to escape. McDaniel was charged with assault to commit rape and was later convicted of a lesser offense for false imprisonment. He was sentenced to three years of formal probation.

In February 1991, McDaniel met a 46-year-old woman in a parking lot outside of a bar in Stanton and asked her for a ride home. The victim obliged and allowed the respondent into her car. Once inside the vehicle, McDaniel grabbed her and pushed it toward his groin in an effort to force the victim to orally copulate him. The victim managed to open her car door and escape, and the respondent fled the scene in her truck. He was arrested for attempted forcible oral copulation but was later convicted of a lesser offense for grand theft. The sentence was combined with a pending un-related perjury case against the respondent and he was sentenced to two years in prison.

In 1993, the respondent attacked his then-girlfriend in Orange County and was arrested for violating parole. He was sent to state prison on a parole violation for one year.

In July 1994, McDaniel observed a 44-year-old woman near Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa. The respondent began speaking with the victim, who indicated to McDaniel that she was not a prostitute. The respondent then offered to give the victim a ride to the motel where she was staying, but instead drove her to a remote industrial area. McDaniel pulled the victim from the car and repeatedly raped her and forced her to orally copulate him. He was arrested on charges of two counts of forcible rape, two counts of forcible oral copulation, and one count of penetration by foreign object. He was convicted in April 1995 of one count of assault to commit rape. For this crime, he was sentenced to nine years and four months in state prison. He was paroled in June 1999 and was ordered to register as a sex offender for life for this crime.

In November 1999, only a few months after being released from state prison, McDaniel was arrested for a parole violation for solicitation of a prostitute. He was paroled again in November 2000, but was re-arrested for violating parole in June 2001 in Orange County for failing to register as a sex offender. He was paroled again in the spring of 2004, but re-arrested shortly thereafter in July 2004 for another solicitation of prostitution parole violation. He was paroled in November 2004.

In July 2005, McDaniel was arrested again for a parole violation for failure to register as a sex offender in Orange County and was sent to state prison for a four year sentence for the parole violation and additional unrelated felony convictions.

On Oct. 29, 2008, the OCDA filed a petition to have McDaniel committed as an SVP and he was sent to Coalinga State Hospital in November 2008 pending his SVP trial.

During the trial, two independent DMH mental health expert evaluators testified that the respondent has multiple mental disorders including paraphilia NOS, anti-social personality disorder, and poly-substance dependence. The mental health experts testified that McDaniel has a high likelihood to commit additional sex crimes and scored higher than 99.1 percent of other similarly-situated sex offenders regarding likelihood to re-offend.

Since being committed at Coalinga State Hospital, the McDaniel has refused to participate in self-help programming or seek therapy or counseling.

Rulings by the Court
Prior to the trial, the OCDA argued on the record that the respondent has admitted to additional violent and sexual crimes against women, but the court ruled that the evidence of those crimes could not be presented during the SVP trial. The court determined that evidence of those crimes would be prejudicial because McDaniel was arrested but the cases were dismissed or resolved for lesser non-sexual convictions, despite the respondent's own later admissions.

Following the jury's decision today that the respondent did not meet the criteria for SVP, the OCDA e argued a motion for a new trial based on the fact that evidence regarding the attack of multiple additional female victims was excluded by the court and should have been available to the jury. The motion was denied this afternoon and the respondent was set to be released this evening.

McDaniel's lifetime sex offender registration bars him from entering County recreational areas and City parks that have passed the Sex Offender Ordinance, with exception to Irvine. Visit to read the prior press releases on the County's Sex Offender Ordinance as well as the 13 other cities that have enacted the Child Safety Zone Ordinance including Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, La Habra, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.

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