IA Supreme Court: Sex Offender Shouldn't Have Been Committed - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

IA Supreme Court: Sex Offender Shouldn't Have Been Committed

Updated:

A Clinton man with a history of sexually violent offenses is being released from a state facility for sexual predators because of what officials are calling a gap in state law.

In 2011, a Clinton County judge ordered 20-year-old Anthony Geltz to be confined at the state's facility for sex offenders at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute.

But now, court officials say he's likely to get out on a technicality. 

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that Geltz cannot be held any longer as a sexually violent predator because he committed his offense when he was a juvenile.

Court documents show that Geltz began sexually abusing children in his neighborhood at a young age. 

When he was 12, he was sent to live at Annie Wittenmyer home in Davenport. When he was 14, Geltz escaped from Wittenmyer and went to a local restaurant where he sexually abused a child. 

At that point, Geltz was prosecuted as a juvenile for 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse.

According to court records, Geltz was placed in the State Training School for Boys where he was disciplined a dozen times for sexual misconduct.

A little more than two years ago, when Geltz turned 18, the state petitioned to have him declared a sexually violent predator and have him committed. He was committed but he appealed that decision and he won his appeal on Friday.

"The Supreme Court is basically saying it's hands are tied," said Clinton County Attorney, Mike Wolf.
"They want to be able to address it but they're saying that's a legislative decision, not a Supreme Court decision."
     
According to Iowa law, a person cannot be held as a sexually violent predator unless they have been convicted of a sexually violent crime. But juveniles cannot be "convicted."

"We call a crime that's committed by a juvenile a delinquent act," Wolf said. 

It's called an adjudication not a conviction. Which means the sexually violent predator law does not apply to Geltz.

Really, it's just a matter of terminology but wolf says it makes a big difference now that Geltz will most likely be released from state custody.

"There is great risk of a re-offense," said Wolf, "and the court noted that concern." He said the Iowa Attorney General's Office is already putting proposed legislation together to address the "gap" in the law.

"Proposing this type of legislation to include juvenile offenders as well as adult offenders. It would be a focus on the type of crime committed as opposed to the age."

The next legislative term begins in January.