A La Marque man was labeled a sexually violent predator after a hearing Wednesday following his early release from prison.
Judge Kerry Neves of the 10th District Court ordered James Edward Jarvis, 59, a repeat child sex offender, to be committed to the custody of the Texas Civil Commitment Office for treatment, following the decision by the jury Wednesday.
Jarvis’ criminal history dates back to 1988, when he was convicted of burglary in Dallas County, as well as fraud and possession of a controlled substance in Rockwell County. Between 1999 and 2000, Jarvis pleaded guilty to seven violent sexual offenses against four children in Galveston, Dallas and Tarrant counties, including aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14 and indecency with a child with sexual contact. He was sentenced 40 years in prison, with the possibility of parole after 24 years.
The action against Jarvis came under the 1999 Texas Sexually Violent Predator, which can be applied to sexual offenders who continue to pose a risk to the public following their release from prison.
Under the law, a jury can find that a repeat sex offender should be civilly committed if the person has multiple convictions for sexual violence; has been sentenced for at least one offense; and the person has a behavioral abnormality that makes the offender likely to engage in an act of predatory sexual violence.
Dr. Darrel Turner, a psychologist, and Dr. Michael Arambula, a psychiatrist, testified that Jarvis suffers from a behavioral abnormality as defined by the Texas statute. Turner and Arambula each diagnosed Jarvis with pedophilia and antisocial personality traits.
Arambula testified that, of the hundreds of sex offenders he has evaluated, this is one of the worst cases he has seen. Evidence showed that Jarvis’ history of non-sex felony convictions and drug and alcohol abuse increase the risk of reoffending.
Special Prosecutor Marc Gault argued to the jury that Jarvis’ pedophilia and antisocial personality traits are a dangerous combination that make him a sexually violent predator. Jarvis, who now identifies as a woman, denied ever offending.
Galveston County Assistant District Attorney Brent Haynes argued that the sex offense convictions in three different counties showed that he is a sexually violent predator and asked the jury to follow the evidence and enforce the law.
Jarvis was set to be evaluated every two years for possible release and has the legal right to petition the court for release at any time.
Trace Harris: 409-683-5247; The Daily News galvnews.com or on twitter at TraceH_news
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