Introduction

Daniel

Daniel is currently a 42 year old married male with a felony conviction for sexual abuse of a minor.

Current Offense
Official records indicate that Daniel sexually abused a 14 year old female friend (A.R.) of his niece.  His niece had been staying with him and his wife for a week while her parents (Daniel's brother and sister-in-law) were out of town.  Over the weekend, his niece asked if her friend (A.R.) – whom he had never met – could spend the night at the house with them, and he and his wife agreed.  That night, while the girls were asleep, he entered the bedroom in which they were staying, and slipped his hand under A.R.'s blanket and began touching her over the clothing in her genital area.  According to the victim's statement, A.R. awoke when she felt him touching her, but she pretended to be asleep as she was fearful of what would happen.  He continued to touch her and ultimately digitally penetrated her, at which point she rolled over toward the wall and he abruptly left the room.  Shortly thereafter, A.R. awakened Daniel's niece and indicated that she needed to go home as she was feeling ill.  A.R. returned home and immediately reported to her parents what had occurred.  In turn, they contacted the authorities and Daniel was arrested and charged with sexual abuse of a child. Daniel ultimately pled guilty and was sentenced to a minimum of 36 months in prison.  He is currently eligible for parole.

Prior Criminal History
Four years prior to the current offense, Daniel was arrested for driving under the influence.  He later pled guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge and was ordered to participate in a substance abuse treatment program.   Aside from that, he has no other prior arrests or convictions, either as a juvenile or adult.

Family and Social History
Daniel is the youngest of three children produced from the union of his parents, who are still married.  His family was close knit and there were no issues of abuse or neglect in the home environment.  He and his siblings have remained in the general vicinity of the city in which they were raised and maintained a positive relationship until the point of his arrest.  Since that time, he has had very minimal contact with his older brother (but no contact with his brother's wife of his niece, who was the friend of the victim in this case).  Daniel has occasional contact with his sister and brother-in-law and her family, who have two teenage children and an older child in college.  His parents are distraught about the offense but remain emotionally supportive of him and assisted with his legal fees at the time.

Daniel and his wife have been married for 10 years and both report that the marriage has been generally stable.  However, his wife reports that his alcohol consumption has caused them to have some difficulties, primarily because Daniel refused to acknowledge that he drank excessively.  They have a relatively large social network of friends, but some have distanced themselves following Daniel's arrest and conviction.  He and his wife were very active in the church, and his wife remains so.  Several members of the church community continue to provide support to Daniel during his incarceration.

Education/ Employment History
Daniel graduated from high school and received an undergraduate degree in business.  He has been gainfully employed throughout his adult life and worked for the same company for nearly 15 years.  He resigned from the company after his arrest.

Medical and Mental Health History
Throughout his life, Daniel has been in good physical health.  He has never been hospitalized for any health-related issues and medical staff report that he is in excellent physical shape.  He has no history of mental health difficulties and has not previously been evaluated for or received psychological/psychiatric issues.  His mother has a history of depression, but no other family members have had difficulties with mental or behavioral health.

Substance Abuse History
According to Daniel, he smoked marijuana occasionally during high school and college, but has not used marijuana or other illegal substances since that time.  He first consumed alcohol at the age of thirteen and reported drinking heavily during his high school and college years, but stated that it was "no different than anyone else back then."   His wife indicates that she believes he has a drinking problem and that even after his DUI arrest he has continued to consume alcohol regularly, despite her objections.  Although he acknowledges that he "occasionally drinks in social situations," Daniel denies having a problem with alcohol abuse.

As a result of the DUI arrest and as a condition of his plea agreement, Daniel was ordered to complete a six week intensive outpatient substance abuse program with six months of aftercare services, which he successfully completed.  Daniel noted that he was intoxicated at the time of the current offense and indicates that he is confident that this is the only plausible explanation for how it happened.

Psychosexual Evaluation Summary
Prior to sentencing in this case, Daniel underwent a psychosexual assessment by a court-appointed forensic psychologist.   The evaluator reported that Daniel appeared to experience normative sexual development during adolescence and emerging adulthood and that he reported having only consensual, age-appropriate relationships and sexual experiences.  She indicated that Daniel has "no history of prior sexual acting out and does not meet the full diagnostic criteria for any of the paraphilic disorders."  She added that "Daniel persistently denies any awareness of the offense and claims that his only explanation is that he 'blacked out' and mistakenly touched A.R. believing that it was his wife."

The evaluator assessed Daniel's risk to reoffend sexually using the VASOR-2 risk assessment instrument and his scores placed in the moderate-low risk category for recidivism.  In addition to recommending treatment for alcohol abuse, the evaluator recommended that Daniel complete "some type of a sex offender-specific treatment program to address his denial and to develop effective skills to reduce his risk of engaging in further behavior of this type."  

Institutional Adjustment and Prison-Based Services
During his incarceration thus far, Daniel has been described as a model inmate, with no referrals or sanctions for misconduct.  He has been employed with the cleaning crew and consistently receives high marks for his performance and conduct.  His case manager indicates that Daniel has provided tutoring to inmates enrolled in the GED program. 
Daniel has completed the prison-based substance abuse treatment program and received high ratings for participation and attendance.  The substance abuse counselor indicates that Daniel now acknowledges his alcohol abuse, recognizes that it has led to a number of difficulties in his life, has identified risk factors that lead to his problem use of alcohol, and has developed a reasonable set of relapse prevention strategies.  

In terms of prison-based sex offender treatment, Daniel was approached by program staff during intake and classification at the institution.  At that time, he initially denied a need for such services, claiming that he only plead guilty to the offense on advice of his counsel, given the evidence against him.  When approached about it again later during his incarceration, Daniel stated that he would be willing to consider participating in the intensive sex offender treatment program as he was aware that this would be helpful for parole eligibility and that he could potentially learn some things about himself.  He maintained, however, that he had no recollection of the offense for which he was convicted, but left open the possibility that, with his new sobriety, sex offender treatment may possibly assist him with some of his memory issues.  Daniel successfully completed an 8-week "outpatient" psychoeducational program for incarcerated sex offenders who are in denial, and has been on the waiting list for the more intensive prison-based sex offender program for approximately one year.

Release Plan
If paroled, Daniel plans to return home to reside with his wife, who has generally remained supportive of him during since the time of his arrest.  His wife is employed full time in the retail industry.  Daniel indicates that his father has agreed to allow him to work part-time for the family business.  According to his case manager, no concerns are noted regarding financial stability.  His release plan includes ongoing participation in Alcoholics Anonymous, and he reports that, should the need arise, he will seek additional assistance.  Also included in his release plan is community-based sex offender treatment program.  His case manager indicated that Daniel's participation in the 8 week psychoeducational sex offender intervention was generally rated as positive and that he received a certificate of completion.  He further notes that although Daniel has fully agreed to participate in and comply with sex offender treatment if paroled, "only time will tell as to whether or not he will fully engage in treatment and genuinely acknowledge that he has a problem with sex offending."

Victim Input/Impact Statement
No current information was made available from the victim or her family in Daniel's case.  At the time of sentencing, A.R.'s parents expressed concern about Daniel's "potential to abuse other vulnerable girls" and indicated that they believe he "needs serious help."  The statement from the victim advocate at sentencing also indicated that A.R. has been adjusting relatively well at home and school, but that she occasionally has disrupted sleep.   

Questions:

  1. Would you recommend that Daniel be granted parole and placed under post-release supervision?   Why or why not? 
  2. What additional information would you like to have in order to make the most informed release decision about Daniel?
  1. Which dynamic risk factors appear to exist for Daniel, either currently or historically? What about protective factors?
  1. What specific questions might you ask Daniel during his parole interview, and why?
  2. How confident are you that Daniel's release plan is sound, and what additional items – if any – would you require in his release plan?
  3. In what ways does Daniel's score on the VASOR-2 risk assessment influence your decision about whether or not to grant parole in his case?
  4. What does the current case information indicate about the level of post-release supervision to which Daniel should be assigned if released to the community?  Please elaborate.
  5. What specific post-release supervision conditions, strategies, other interventions would you impose – or expect to be included on an individualized post-release supervision plan for Daniel, and why?
  6. What specific concerns and/or expectations do you have with respect to the victim in this case that should be addressed prior to or post-release?

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