Supreme Court To Rule On Forced Therapy For Sex Offender With AM-Scotus Rdp Bjt
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether a Montana man convicted of fondling a child may be forced to attend a therapy program for sex offenders.
The court said it will review a ruling that said requiring Donald Imlay to receive treatment would force him to admit guilt and violate his right against self-incrimination.
Imlay was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl at his Great Falls, Mont., grocery store on April 11, 1989. The child said Imlay, 56 at the time, had fondled her.
A judge sentenced Imlay to five years in prison, but suspended the sentence on the condition he attend a counselling program for sex offenders.
Imlay attended a sex-offender program six times over a six-month period but continually denied he had assaulted the young girl. The social worker who was counseling Imlay said it was pointless to continue the therapy because Imlay refused to admit guilt.
The therapist recommended that Imlay be confined as a patient for further treatment. The only such program in Montana is at the state prison.
A state judge then revoked Imlay’s probation, ordered him to prison and said he should not be paroled until he completes the sexual-offender treatment program there.
The Montana Supreme Court ruled last June that forcing Imlay to attend the treatment program would violate his right against self-incrimination because his attendance demands an admission of guilt.
The state court said such an admission could prevent Imlay from appealing his conviction and might expose him to prosecution for perjury, since he testified at his trial that he was innocent.
Ironically, a state judge then reimposed Imlay’s prison sentence. And he was sent to prison, but not required to attend the treatment program there.
Montana officials, in the appeal acted on Monday, said requiring Imlay to get therapy would not violate his rights because his answers would concern only the crime for which he already had been convicted.
The case is Montana vs. Imlay, 91-687.