The Ottumwa Courier

September 18, 2013

Area man loses predator appeal

Courier staff writer

---- — DES MOINES — A Wapello County man has lost his bid to overturn his designation as a sexually violent predator.

Daniel Roe Jr., now 41, was 18 when he was convicted of second-degree sexual assault in 1990. He was convicted after asking an employee in a lingerie store to model clothing for him. When she did, he threatened to shoot her with a BB gun unless she performed oral sex. Court documents show he also attempted to rape the employee but could not maintain an erection.

Roe was convicted and was behind bars until 2007, when he was discharged. Three years later, in 2010, he pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

A journal entry Roe wrote for his sexual offender treatment class graphically describes the attack. Roe blamed it on the victim's comments about leaving him to return to a previous boyfriend. By his own admission, Roe dragged the victim into a public restroom and assaulted her, breaking one of her teeth and beating her until she was “bleeding pretty good.” She escaped.

Experts disagreed during Roe's trial on whether he met the required definition of “mental abnormality” necessary for designation as a sexually violent predator. The state's expert diagnosed Roe with borderline personality disorder and a “paraphilia [sexual deviation] not otherwise specified.” A pair of defense experts countered that Roe was not possessed of any mental abnormality.

The designation is critical for the case, because Iowa law allows for commitment of sexually violent predators beyond their prison sentences.

It's a question for a jury. The appeals court said jurors were required to find both that Roe “has a mental abnormality causing him serious difficulty controlling his behavior” and that Roe “is more likely than not to commit a sexually violent offense in the future, unless he is confined to a secure facility.” Jurors decided Roe met both requirements.

Roe's appeal alleged that jurors got it wrong, pointing to the defense experts' testimony. The appeals court didn't agree. The judges said the defense testimony did not negate the prosecution's expert, leaving jurors free to believe whomever they chose.

Roe is currently serving a special supervision sentence with a tentative discharge date of March 2016.