ELLSWORTH -- A Pierce County court commissioner clamped down on a convicted sex offender’s bail conditions, but not as tightly as prosecutors sought, at a hearing last week.
Pierce County Assistant District Attorney Rory O’Sullivan unsuccessfully requested Court Commissioner Jorv Gavic to hold Cameron J. Doman in jail while he awaits trial. Gavic denied the request during the Thursday, Nov. 10, hearing after Liesl Nelson, attorney manager for the State Public Defender’s Office, expressed outrage at the chain of events leading up to the hearing.
Doman, a 25-year-old convicted sex offender, was charged with new felony sex crimes involving child enticement after an Aug. 23 incident near Glen Park in River Falls. He was jailed and released on a signature bond.
Last week’s hearing stemmed from an incident on Sept. 15 near Grimm Hall on the UW-River Falls campus.
According to River Falls Police investigator Charles Golden, who testified at the hearing:
He was contacted Sept. 15 by River Falls Deputy Police Chief Jon Aubart, who asked him to check on a suspicious person outside Grimm Hall who had let a dog off its leash. Golden later learned River Falls Police Chief Gordie Young was the original complainant.
Golden responded to the call and met a UWRF police officer there, where they spoke with the suspect, identified as Doman.
Doman told them the dog was let off its leash because it was thrashing around, choking itself. He received a verbal warning from the university officer.
While walking back to his squad, Golden was approached by Young, who said he had observed the incident and wanted Doman ticketed.
Golden later went to the police station and asked Young what he saw. The chief told him that the dog was not in distress, as Doman had suggested. Rather, the chief said he saw Doman look both ways, then release the dog in an open area near the dorm.
Golden said the chief had driven past the area, recognized Doman and stopped to observe because he “had no reason to be there.”
After analyzing the scenario, Golden became suspicious, given recent allegations about Doman reoffending in the area. He feared Doman had been “using the dog to possibly lure another victim in.”
Golden said that assessment was based on tendencies and weaknesses involving teenage boys that Doman allegedly admitted to during interviews with authorities, and that Doman’s account about the dog incident differed from Young’s observation.
Nelson cross-examined Golden and asked him if the area involving the loose dog was secluded. It was not, Golden replied. She asked if students at UWRF are generally between 18 and 25 years old. They are, Golden testified.
Nelson then told Golden that language in the sex offender registry prohibits injury or harassment of people on the list.
O’Sullivan argued that Doman has been violating sex offender registry requirements governing address updates. He noted that Doman has listed himself as homeless, as having a PO box in Shell Lake and living at a hotel in River Falls.
“The state is developing very serious concerns,” O’Sullivan said in seeking to have Doman held in jail.
Nelson countered that the bond statute only exists to assure court appearances and to prevent bodily harm. He has been making his court appearances, Nelson said.
She said prosecution’s case is one of “profiling and harassment based on Mr. Doman’s status on the registry.”
Having to educate police that the registry prohibits harassment “is shocking,” Nelson said, noting that three of River Falls’ top-ranking officers were involved in the dog incident. She said that amounted to trying to run someone out of town.
“This is nothing short of profiling and harassment,” Nelson said, arguing that considering someone suspicious because he is out in the public “is offensive to me.”
O’Sullivan said that if Doman is homeless, it’s safer to have him off the streets.
Gavic sided with Nelson and denied the request to hold Doman in jail. However, the court commissioner expressed regret at setting the original bail for a $2,000 signature bond.
He modified Doman’s bail conditions to prohibit him from being within 300 feet of a public or private grade school, middle school or high school. He said that does not include university property.
A pretrial hearing on the new felony charges was set for Jan. 17. ..Source.. by Mike Longaecker