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Still hasn't proved it can stop reoffenders
By VANESSA HO P-I REPORTER Patrick Velez walked into a fast-food restaurant in Pierce County and kidnapped two teenage female employees at knifepoint. He bound their wrists, taped their eyes and mouths shut, drove them to a secluded area. Then he raped one of the victims, who was 17. Later convicted of the November 1981 crimes, Velez wound up spending eight years in sex-offender treatment, in and out of prison. He kept logs of his fantasies, took polygraph tests, underwent "arousal reconditioning" and learned how to have positive relationships. By the time Velez left prison in 2000, officials still considered him a high-risk offender, but were encouraged by his progress. He had "done quite well in treatment," a therapist wrote in his prison records, and had demonstrated "good relapse-prevention knowledge." Last month, prosecutors charged him with trying to strangle a woman after hiding in her car in a Costco parking lot in Tukwila. He had a "rape kit" -- knife, gloves and handcuffs -- along with condoms, lubricant, a douche bag and women's underwear in his car, police said. While the Velez case is alarming, another treated sex offender, Terapon Adhahn, recently stirred outrage across Washington, prompting calls for a one-strike-you're-out-law. The Tacoma handyman is accused of graduating from incest to kidnapping, child rape and murder. Velez and Adhahn offer glimpses into the conflicted world of sex-offender therapy. Despite inconsistent research findings on the subject, sex-offender treatment is not only a fixture in criminal justice, but also a burgeoning field, with the number of certified therapists more than doubling statewide in the last 10 years. And while the overall climate for sex offenders has radically changed -- with longer sentences and more restrictions -- treatment has largely remained static, relying on the same cognitive-behavioral methods introduced in the 1980s. "It's an ongoing question, there's no two ways about it," said Roxanne Lieb, director of the Washington State Institute of Public Policy, on the effectiveness of treatment. "Certainly, it's not a cure-all," she said.
Despite Lieb's study. He had peeped on neighbors as a child growing up in Tacoma. He had threatened the woman with scissors. The study echoed a landmark 2005 study. In fact. he cruised for rape victims and once hid in the back seat of a woman's car. "But being here every day.8 million-a-year program. in which researchers found that a California hospital program for confined sex offenders had no significant impact on curbing repeat crimes. He then went to prison in 1989. he told therapists. however.Last year. who feel badly about what they've done. $1. "There's pretty good evidence that if you pick out the right kind of people. but fled when she screamed and was never caught." 'End goal is not a cure' When Velez pleaded guilty to first-degree rape in 1982." said Sally Neiland. they want to expand it." Velez received a 20-year suspended sentence. hearing from them they have successful lives -. As a teenager. you can alter those patterns. watching them graduate." Lieb said. seeing men released. prison officials are quick to defend the 200-bed." Velez flunked out after five years. which one therapist described as "brutal" and "extremely predatory. He got a second chance at treatment and flunked again. Both studies.had virtually no effect on reducing recidivism rates. court records show.one of the largest in the nation -. based at the Twin Rivers Unit in the Monroe Correctional Complex. For the assault on the restaurant workers. the treatment program's unit supervisor. "The study says what it says. Lieb's office released a study that found that Washington's prison treatment program for male sex offenders -. he was a 19-year-old with entrenched sexual deviancies. "But if you have someone who's anti-social." . no one knows anything about what to do about those three things. with a second location in Eastern Washington. where he enrolled in the state's Sex Offender Treatment Program. who hates women or who is sexually attracted to little kids. That required him to complete a now-defunct program at Western State Hospital for "sexual psychopaths.they report that wouldn't have happened without treatment. have detractors who point to other studies showing that treatment works. after fantasizing about raping his therapist. He burglarized homes to steal women's underwear.
"I wonder what was going on in his life. and to change thought and behavior patterns. he had married a nurse educator he met at a hospital." in which a deviant fantasy is paired with a foul odor such as Limburger cheese. Many undergo a process called "arousal reconditioning. "It's to assist them in learning what situations lead them to offend and how to create intervention.Neiland could not discuss Velez." Neiland said. It ended in 2002. in part by listening to a Holocaust survivor. but said offenders in general spend about a year in treatment. nor did his wife. where he did well under the terms of his two-year community supervision. Offenders also learn how to manage emotions." By the time Velez left prison. Velez. did not return a call for comment. The next five years are a mystery. and how did he fail to use the tools that he was given?" Neiland said. but stopped when they learned the method can be harmful). learning to recognize stressors such as anger or boredom. "How did he unravel?" . who is now in the Regional Justice Center jail. "The end goal is not a cure. develop social skills and empathize with victims. rotting meat or skunk urine. He had begun attending Quaker meetings and taking classes in computer programming. (Twin Rivers used to use ammonia capsules. He moved into his wife's rural Maple Valley home.