Jonathan Robert, whose real name is Roger Alan Giese, has a career in England as a public relations executive. In Orange County, as Giese, he is accused of molesting a teenager and was arrested in 2007 and, while out on bail, fled the country and ended up in England. British authorities have refused to return him to the U.S. because of what might happen to Giese after he serves his potential prison sentence. An American law, civil commitment, says that after a convicted sex offender has served his prison sentence he can be involuntarily committed to a mental hospital for an unspecified period in the interest of public safety. Nicholas Scurich, Assistant Professor of Criminology, Law and Society and Psychology and Social Behavior, said courts largely have upheld laws on the grounds that civil commitment is a form of treatment rather than punishment, but, paradoxically, most of the committed sexual offenders in California do not participate in treatment. “The fundamental issue is that people don’t want sex offenders living next door to them, and the law has been used as a means to reach that end," states Scurich. While civil commitment may be unconstitutional, he said, California likely won’t see many changes.“It’s not politically smart for anyone to side with sex offenders,” says Scurich.
Photo credit: Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror