Judge declares mistrial in sexually violent predator case

A jury deadlocked in Island County Superior Court on the question of whether a former Oak Harbor man should continue to be civilly committed as a “sexually violent predator.”

Judge Vickie Churchill declared a mistrial.

The state Attorney General’s Office will continue to oppose 50-year-old Curtis Brogi’s petition for release, a spokesperson said.

That likely means another trial.

The trial last week was a redo of a trial in 2016. A state Court of Appeals reversed the earlier jury’s decision to keep Brogi civilly committed as a sexually violent predator because an expert witness introduced racial bias in his testimony.

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 suffers from a mental health disorder which makes him likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence.

Brogi has been living at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island since then.

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.

Brogi petitioned the court in 2015 to be released from McNeil Island to a “less-restrictive alternative,” specifically his parents’ house on North Whidbey.

In a trial the following year, a jury found that Brogi’s proposed plan for living n Whidbey would not adequately protect the community, so the judge denied his conditional release.

According to court documents, Brogi’s expert witness testified that Brogi made such progress in treatment that he no longer meets the criteria of being a sexually violent predator. He’s been involved in Native American culture and religion and has been a mentor to others.

At the trial in 2016, a psychologist who testified for the state said Native Americans are more likely to re-offend. The appeals court later found that the statement may have given credence to jurors’ latent racist ideas.

At the trials, the Attorney General’s Office introduced evidence of a long series of sexual assaults that Brogi allegedly perpetrated. In some cases he was charged with a crime and in others he wasn’t.

Brogi was civilly committed after he was convicted and served his sentence for luring a woman to his parents’ home under the pretext of a job interview, pointing a gun at her, tying her to a bed and molesting her, according to court documents.

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