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Crime & Courts

Prosecutors argue DeKalb man is ‘sexually violent’

DeKALB – Prosecutors have taken the first steps to have a 54-year-old DeKalb sex offender committed for psychiatric treatment after he spent four years behind bars for sexually abusing a 6-year-old he was babysitting.

Carmen Protano, of the 1600 block of South Fourth Street, pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse Dec. 9, 2011, in DeKalb County; he was accused of sexually abusing a family member over three years.

Protano is in custody of the Department of Human Services at its Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility.

If prosecutors successfully argue Protano is a violent sex offender under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, he would receive treatment in a secure facility until authorities believe he is no longer a threat.

“It’s a legal avenue the state can use to ensure the community, particularly young people, that someone should not be allowed to roam free once their term is up,” said Scott Mulford, press secretary for the Illinois State Attorney General.

On Wednesday, DeKalb County Presiding Judge Robbin Stuckert found there was probable cause to believe Protano was a sexually violent person, which means authorities can hold him while they prepare for a trial that would provide a final determination.

Vasiliki Tsoflias, a clinical psychologist at Wexford Health Services, diagnosed Protano with pedophilic disorder based on his criminal history. Protano has been involved in sexual acts with numerous children, both boys and girls related and unrelated to him, since he was a teenager, Tsoflias testified Wednesday.

Protano also pleaded guilty to a 1993 Florida battery charge, which Tsoflias said was sexual in nature.

He was ordered to seek sex offender treatment, but other than his word, Tsoflias had no proof Protano sought treatment.

While in prison, Protano has not sought sex offender treatment, Tsoflias said.

Assistant Public Defender Chip Criswell argued that the diagnosis was not valid because it only took into consideration Protano’s criminal charges rather than doing a mental evaluation. Stuckert disagreed, however.

Protano’s next court date is March 20.

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