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United States v. Carta

690 F.3d 1 (2012)

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United States v. Carta

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

690 F.3d 1 (2012)

Facts

Todd Carta (plaintiff) pleaded guilty to child-pornography charges and was sentenced to five years in federal prison. Carta had a nearly lifelong history of sexually molesting children and adolescents. In prison, Carta was enrolled in a sexual-predator treatment program but withdrew after becoming inappropriately attracted to the program’s younger participants. Before Carta’s scheduled release from prison, the Bureau of Prisons classified Carta as a sexually dangerous person (SDP) and moved under the Adam Walsh Child Protections and Safety Act (ACT) to have Carta civilly committed to an institution after the end of his prison term. Carta was diagnosed with paraphilia not otherwise specified (paraphilia NOS) characterized by hebephilia. Hebephilia is a sexual attraction to adolescent children. At trial, the bureau presented expert testimony from Dr. Amy Phenix, who testified that Carta’s hebephilia, long history of child molestation, and resistance to treatment made it likely that Carta would sexually molest children if released. Carta conceded to a history of child molestation but challenged the classification of hebephilia as a serious mental disorder. The district court held that the bureau failed to present clear-and-convincing evidence that Carta’s hebephilia was a serious mental disorder that would drive him to sexually abuse minors if released. The bureau appealed. The First Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that hebephilia qualified as a serious mental disorder. On remand, the trial court upheld the bureau’s classification of Carta as an SDP. Carta appealed again to the First Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Howard, J.)

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