Sexually Violent Predator
In 1998, the South Carolina General Assembly passed the Sexually Violent Predator Act, which provides for involuntary civil commitment of a mentally abnormal and extremely dangerous group of sexual predators. The Legislature found there is a significant likelihood these individuals will engage in repeated acts of sexual violence if their conditions go untreated. Individuals committed under the Act are confined to the custody of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, and held in a separate and secure facility for long-term control, care and treatment. The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office has two attorneys assigned to handle all cases under the Act.
The Sexually Violent Predator commitment process begins at least 270 days prior to a convicted sex offender’s release from incarceration in the South Carolina Department of Corrections, the South Carolina Department of Mental health, or the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. If there is probable cause to believe the offender is a sexually violent predator, a judge may order a psychiatric evaluation of the offender to be completed by a court appointed evaluator. These offenders found to be sexually violent predators are committed to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health in an intensive treatment program, and their mental status is reviewed annually to determine if they are safe to be at large. If released from treatment, the offenders must register as a sexually violent predator on the South Carolina Sex Offender Registry for life, and their registration and photograph must be updated every 90 days.
The public is encouraged to check the Sex Offender Registry often to identify the sex offenders living in the area. The Registry specifically indicates whether an offender is a sexually violent predator under the Act. Also, it is important to notify local law enforcement if a registered Sex Offender/Predator is seen loitering near places children or other potential victims congregate.