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Sex offender claims he was unfairly punished for watching HBO

RICHMOND, Va. — A human rights advocate for a state facility that provides treatment for civilly committed sex offenders in Virginia has filed a complaint on behalf of one of those sex offenders alleging unfair treatment.

The complaint was filed on July 21, 2014 with the Virginia Center for Behavioral Services and alleges residents at the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR) were unfairly punished for watching HBO.

VCBR is a residential treatment facility for civilly committed sexually violent predators, according to the facility’s website.

“On the weekend of June the 27th, HBO was offered as a promotional by the cable provider,” committed sex offender Elijah Howell said. Howell and fellow committed sex offender Robert Baugh told us they watched “We Are the Millers” that weekend with approval from a VCBR staff member.

“He said the programming was pre-approved, and there would be no problem with us watching it,” Howell said.

But, the next day, they said roughly 50 of the more than 200 residents at VCBR were punished for watching nudity on HBO and accused of “sexual behavior.”

“It dropped me down from a blue card to a red…there’s a lot of stuff you can’t do when you become a red card,” Baugh said.

The residents worry their time at VCBR will be extended for something they said is not a valid punishment.

“When you go to court and you have a sexual behavior observation note… it’s gonna look like this guy doesn’t understand what he’s doing and still getting sexual behavior notes,” Baugh said.

The human rights advocate at VCBR who filed the complaint, Tammy Long, alleges the residents did not engage in sexual behavior. She cites VCBR’s facility instructions, which state sexual behavior involves physical contact.

“These convicted sex offenders in this particular facility have all served their criminal time, and then they’ve been civilly committed, not voluntarily, for treatment,” ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Gastanaga said. “So at this point the purpose is supposed to be therapeutic not punitive.”

Gastanaga said if the complaint is accurate, it shows unfair treatment.

“It’s about some people doing it because they can…it’s almost bullying,” Gastanaga said.

A spokesperson for the state agency that oversees VCBR said he cannot comment on specific investigations, but human rights complaints are investigated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Office of Human Rights.

The spokesperson added that the facility director may also investigate complaints.

13 comments

    • Kimberly Baugh

      They aren’t in PRISON. They are in a rehab facility with no definite release date. They are released from there when the staff and psychiatrist feels they are ready to go back into the community. Please don’t judge
      Luke 6:37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
      Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

      • Melissa

        It sounds like there’s too many logs and specks floating around, getting into people’s eyes

      • wiseman

        Kim I don’t care if they are or rehab they did something nasty.. They committed a crime. If they wanted to watch HBO they should stay out of trouble. Why are you taking up for these scrums? Are you one?

    • athynz

      “WISEMAN
      Kim I don’t care if they are or rehab they did something nasty.. They committed a crime. If they wanted to watch HBO they should stay out of trouble. Why are you taking up for these scrums? Are you one?”

      Nice ad-hominem attack bro! And you missed the point. While I’m not condoning them having access to cable TV at all the issue is that they were told one thing and then the next day were told the opposite. It’s pure steaming BS to punish them for something that was a cleared activity.

  • Hang 10

    come on WTVR, are you so desperate for viewers that you have to post this?
    It is not really news.
    Anything for ratings or…fairly low brow…

  • Paula

    Thanks wiseman. Since she blasted my reply that what I wanted to know, why Kim are you upholding them? I really agree with you John. I bet you Kim will disagree.

    • Jackie

      Y is everyone attacking Kim for having an opinion? I used to work there and some of the people there r there for some real dumb things. And don’t get things mixed up with the violent part mixed up in there cuz for most of them in there the violence comes from defending themselves while serving their time in prison. I’m not condoning anything that they did, but like Kim said, it’s not for me to judge. However, if ur gonna call the place a rehabilitation center then it needs to act like one.

      • wiseman

        Nobody is attacking kim become of her opinion, it because she is attacking people comments and she is acting like she the judge here. If one of them drag her somewhere would she still say let them see HBO?

  • Jackie

    I’m sorry Wiseman…I only c the one comment from her. R there others somewhere else? My only thing is that this place says they’re there to b a rehabilitation facility but it’s not. If the state wants to keep them locked up then that is what they should do. They shouldn’t use tax payers money under the guise of running a rehabilitation center and the blasting people for doing something they had permission for, or something as stupid as one person in charge of a dorm thinking the tv is too loud…And Dustin is correct in his statement.

  • Rockstarlicious

    If a bunch of guys in a post-prison rehab joint want to whack it to Jennifer Aniston stripping, and they’ve already served their time, I’m fine with it. The managers should’ve researched the movie before allowing it, instead of punishing them after the fact.

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