‘Sexually violent predator’ won’t be living on Whidbey Island

After 20 years on McNeil Island, Curtis Brogi wanted to move to Oak Harbor. He’ll end up in Tacoma.

By Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

OAK HARBOR — Island County’s first “sexually violent predator” will get to leave the special commitment center on McNeil Island after 20 years, but he is still supposed to be closely monitored.

After a complicated court battle, Curtis Brogi was granted a release to a “less restrictive alternative” in the community, which will be transitional housing in Tacoma.

Under state law, someone leaving the special commitment center is supposed to be released to his county of commitment, which in Brogi’s case, would be Island County. That is, however, unless a court finds it would be inappropriate, due to several considerations, including the availability of treatment and victim safety.

In the order on release, Island County Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill found that there is no appropriate housing in Island County that can adequately protect the community and it was therefore appropriate to release him to the Tacoma housing unit, where the community can be better protected.

Brogi had originally asked to be released to his family’s home near Oak Harbor.

Brogi committed “numerous acts of sadistic sexual violence against young girls and women” during the 1980s and 1990s, mostly on Whidbey Island, according to the Attorney General’s Office brief on the case.

In 2000, Brogi became the first person in Island County history to be civilly committed under the state’s Sexually Violent Predator Act, which allows the state to hold a sex offender at a treatment center if he has a mental health disorder that makes him likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence.

In June 2016, a trial was held in Island County Superior Court on the issue of whether Brogi should be released to a less restrictive alternative, which means living in housing in a community with strict rules, supervision and treatment. The state Attorney General’s Office opposed his release and the jury agreed.

The state Court of Appeals, however, overturned the decision because of a remark about Native Americans made by a state expert. The case went back for a retrial, but Churchill declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked.

After a state expert concluded that Brogi’s release plan was adequate, an agreement was reached in which Brogi would live in the Tacoma housing but abide by a list of conditions.

Churchill approved the plan.

Under the conditions set by the court, Brogi must wear a GPS device when he leaves his residence, can only go to pre-approved destinations by pre-approved routes and continue participating in treatment. Whidbey Island is not listed as one of Brogi’s approved destinations.

This story originally appeared in the Whidbey News-Times, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.

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