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Elkhorn man petitions for release

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Pedro Oliveira Jr.
October 30, 2009
— An Elkhorn man found to be a sexually violent person is petitioning for conditional release from the state mental institution where he's been locked up since 2001, court documents show.

James R. Funk, 37, was convicted in 1993 of sexually assaulting a 42-year-old mentally challenged man he knew. That offense resulted in a prison sentence that would have ended in 2003.


Funk has been in custody in a mental institution since 2001, when the state Attorney General's Office petitioned to keep him locked up for being a sexually violent person.


As a sexually violent person, Funk is granted the right to progress reviews and can petition for conditional release. He has waived his right to a petition almost every year since taken to a mental health institution.


Earlier this month, Funk filed a petition asking for conditional release, the only such petition he's filed since his first request in 2006.


Bill Cosh, spokesman for the state Attorney General's Office, said papers filed so far show Funk's intention to seek release but are not by themselves enough for a court ruling.


A status hearing is schedule for Dec. 16.


Most of the progress reports on Funk's treatment have been sealed by Walworth County judges. One of the few unsealed reports, filed in 2002, speaks of a pedophile attracted to males and females combined with antisocial personality disorder.


The report by a psychologist list four main factors to consider when dealing with Funk's past sexual offenses: his sexual deviance, difficulty self-managing his impulses, coping effectively with his anger and distorted attitudes regarding his prior sexual offenses.


According to the report, Funk's history of sexual offenses date to when he was 15.


He was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in 1989.


While on probation for the 1989 conviction, Funk sexually assaulted a 41-year-old mentally challenged man multiple times. Funk was convicted of one count of second-degree sexual assault and sentenced to 10 years in prison.


He was found to be sexually violent in January 2001 and sent to the Wisconsin Resource Center for specialized treatment. He was transferred to Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in September 2001 and participated in support groups.


In 2002, a psychologist hired to examine Funk said he was more likely than not to offend again.



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