Johnny Davis, a former Yelm resident found guilty in the 2000s of sexually assaulting two girls, should not be returned to the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island, a Thurston County jury has decided.
Davis, now 34, has been held at the center since 2009, when a jury found that he was a sexually violent offender. At the time, he was ordered held until he could be safely released.
To keep Davis at the facility, attorneys from the state Attorney General’s Office would have needed to prove that a less restrictive option isn’t in Davis’ best interest, or that the less restrictive alternative doesn’t include conditions that would adequately protect the community.
A 12-person jury found on Oct. 6 that Assistant Attorneys General Sean Waite and Thomas Howe didn’t prove either of those things.
Instead of being committed on McNeil Island, Davis likely will live at a group home in Tacoma, and undergo sex offender treatment with Jeanglee Tracer, a state certified sex offender treatment provider. The plan for the less restrictive alternative is currently under review.
In 1996, Davis was accused of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl. He was 13 years old at the time, and charged in Thurston County Juvenile Court with first-degree child rape. He pleaded guilty to the charge later that year.
In 1999, he again pleaded guilty to three charges involving a 4-year-old girl: first-degree child rape, first-degree child molestation, and first-degree kidnapping with sexual motivation, according to The Olympian’s archives. He was sentenced to five years in custody at age 16.
In that case, Davis was accused of luring the girl with chewing gum, toys and promises of a fort, then assaulting her on at least 10 separate occasions.
At the time, Davis lived with his father and stepmother in Yelm. Both of the victims lived in the same neighborhood.
The Attorney General’s Office first petitioned in 2004 to have Davis civilly committed as a sexually violent predator, according to court files. The state’s Sexually Violent Predator law was passed in 1990 and allows the Attorney General’s Office to petition for civil commitment beyond the time served for a sexually violent crime conviction.
In 2009, a jury found that Davis was a sexually violent predator. He was ordered to be committed at the Special Commitment Center, run by the state Department of Social and Health Services on McNeil Island. There are currently 273 sexually violent predators there, according to a press release from the Attorney General’s Office.
Since his commitment, Davis has undergone several evaluations. Until January 2015, Davis had declined to participate in sex offender related programs. But according to a 2017 report, Davis began sex offender treatment sometime during the review period. The report notes that he seemed “generally happier.”
Elizabeth Bain, the psychologist who wrote the report, wrote that Davis continues to suffer from a personality disorder. However, the disorder doesn’t make him likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if he isn’t confined to a secure facility.