Committment Proper After Sex Threats in Park

     (CN) – Iowa properly committed a man as a sexually violent predator after he asked a stranger in the park inappropriate sexual questions, the state Supreme Court ruled.
     Paul Michael Blaise was collecting cans from Fort Madison, Iowa’s River View Park in October 2005 when he started posing questions to a woman, identified in court documents only as S.E.
     Blaise asked S.E. if she was married, if she was sexually active and if she would take part in anal sex.
     As S.E. quickened her pace to get away, Blaise asked whether she had been the victim of a violent crime, whether she would use lubrication in anal sex, and whether she would take her clothes off or have sex if someone threatened her.
     Eventually the woman ran away and found someone to walk her to her car.
     S.E. warned another female park visitor that “there was someone in the park talking about rape and guns and all kinds of sexual stuff” before calling the police.
     Officers apprehended Blaise in the park, and he was carrying a gun.
     Blaise pleaded guilty to first-degree harassment and Iowa sought to have him committed as a sexually violent predator while he was serving out a two-year sentence.
     Though a jury committed Blaise in 2007, he won a new trial by alleging that the doctor who had testified for the state was an “admitted mentally ill pedophile with serious difficulty controlling his behavior.”
     In the new trial, Iowa opened the floodgates of Blaise’s past behavior. The jury heard Blaise’s own testimony about his acts as a child, which included setting a vehicle on fire and shooting another child in the face with a BB gun.
     During a time when Blaise was institutionalized, he also sexually assaulted a roommate. As an adult, he was convicted for sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl and he was arrested another time for lifting a girl’s skirt on the street. Blaise was also convicted of burglary and damaging the burglary victim’s car because she wouldn’t have sex with him.
     Iowa also presented evidence that Blaise spent his time jailed for sexual abuse by threatening to torture a female prison staff member unless she had sex with him; masturbating in front of staff members and suing a female staff member requesting that she change her wardrobe so he could “see her butt.”
     Blaise was once again committed as a sexually violent predator.
     The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed Friday, rejecting Blaise’s claims about misstated evidence, trial bifurcation and alleged delays.
     Regarding bifurcation, Blaise argued that the issue of whether his harassment of S.E. was sexually motivated should have been separated from that of whether he has a mental abnormality that makes him likely to reoffend.
     Though the court agreed “that some of the evidence of Blaise’s criminal history and misbehavior while institutionalized was not relevant to the determination of whether his harassment of S.E. was sexually motivated and created a risk of prejudice,” the justices said that, “standing alone and apart from any evidence of Blaise’ prior conduct,” the evidence of Blaise’s interaction with S.E. would lead any reasonable person to find “Blaise’s conversation with S.E. was sexually motivated.”
     The court also rejected Blaise’s speedy-trial claim, noting that he had waived his speedy trial rights, and that the waiver “clearly addresses his new trial.”
     “It was executed and filed after the district court granted his motion for a new trial,” Justice Daryl Hecht wrote for the court.
     Finally, the justices ruled that the prosecution did not state that Blaise had threatened S.E. with a gun, only that he had talked with her about such a threat.

%d bloggers like this: