A case against a convicted pedophile from Kennewick was put on hold Wednesday because he refuses to participate in a mandatory psychological evaluation.
Stephen Robinson's decision in Benton County Superior Court means he will be held indefinitely in McNeil Island's Special Commitment Center until he changes his mind.
The state Attorney General's Office has been trying to keep Robinson locked up, possibly for the rest of his life, but needs a ruling by a judge or a jury that he's a sexually violent predator. An evaluation by a mental health professional is a required part of the process.
Robinson, 57, has a history of sex crimes going back three decades, continues to fantasize about young girls and would be a danger to the community if released from custody, Assistant Attorney General Jeremy Bartels has said.
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Robinson was convicted of indecent liberties in Benton County in 1984. He started molesting a 3-year-old girl within days of meeting her, and the abuse lasted more than six months until the girl reported it to her father, according to court documents.
He repeatedly violated conditions of his sentence through the years, including a 1988 arrest in Yakima County for indecent liberties and first-degree statutory rape. That was reduced to simple assault and he pleaded guilty, documents show.
Robinson had an active arrest warrant for another probation violation on the original Benton County case when he moved to Colorado.
In January 1999, a grade-school girl told a school nurse that Robinson had earlier raped her and she was afraid because he'd left a knife on the floor nearby. After doing time for that sexual assault of a child, Robinson was returned to Benton County and sentenced to five years and eight months in prison for the probation violation.
He was set to be released July 26, 2013, from the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. The Attorney General's Office filed a petition just days before to keep him locked up.
The state has said Robinson suffers from mental abnormalities and a personality disorder that causes him to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence.
Last September, Judge Carrie Runge found there was sufficient evidence to schedule a civil commitment trial, which would allow the state to keep Robinson behind bars indefinitely, subject to annual status checks.
Robinson had been set to face a jury Oct. 6, but first needed to complete the court-ordered evaluation.
Bartels requested the Wednesday hearing because Robinson refused to meet with a clinical psychologist on June 19. The evaluator had set aside time to fly from California, drive down and catch a ferry to McNeil Island, only to be told the day before that Robinson wouldn't cooperate, he said.
Bartels and Sonja K. Hardenbrook, an attorney with the Snohomish County Public Defender Association assigned to the case, called in to the courtroom for the hearing with Runge. Robinson also was on the phone.
"Mr. Robinson does not want to participate in anything from here going forward," Hardenbrook told the court. "He says he wants this hearing to be his last."
Runge asked Robinson a series of questions about his decision, and said she would find him in contempt for failing to follow the court's order.
"Do you understand then that the only way that the contempt can be purged, and the only way the case can move forward, is by you telling Ms. Hardenbrook that you are ready to participate in the mandatory psychological evaluation?" Runge said.
Robinson confirmed that he understood the result of his actions.
The trial date has been canceled.
There currently are about 300 sexually violent predators civilly committed in the state.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer