McNeil Island sex predator ends wage lawsuit

A sexual predator confined to Washington's Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island has dismissed his lawsuit against the state a week after it was filed.

A 59-year-old repeat rapist named Gordon Michael Strauss filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tacoma last week, arguing that those confined to the center are mental patients, not prisoners, and that they should be paid the federal minimum wage for work they perform there.

The lawsuit sought class-action status on behalf of other prisoners, but Strauss dropped the case without explanation on Tuesday. One of his lawyers, Christopher Carney of Seattle, declined to comment.

The center on McNeil Island houses about 280 sexually violent predators who have completed their prison terms but are deemed too dangerous to return to society without treatment.

A little more than half perform work there and are paid $1 to $3 an hour.