Lake County Cases Test Sex Offender Counseling Law Prosecutors File Petitions to Block Release, Keep Two Convicts Locked Up

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Byline: Tony Gordon Daily Herald Staff Writer

State officials are moving to confine two convicted Lake County child molesters beyond their prison release dates because they say the men still are dangerous.

Assistant Attorney General Mark Curran filed a petition to block the release of one of the men Monday in Lake County Circuit Court and is expected to take similar action against a second defendant today.

Curran said the men, scheduled to be released from downstate prisons this week, have been diagnosed as suffering from pedophilia and are eligible for continued confinement under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act.

The law, which took effect Jan. 1, allows for sex offenders to be held in mental institutions for an indeterminate period of treatment and counseling.

The petition filed Monday claims John Robinson, 38, a former Waukegan resident sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1994 and scheduled to be released on parole today, has been diagnosed as a pedophile with anti-social and schizoid traits.

It asks the Illinois Department of Corrections to bring Robinson to Circuit Judge Barbara Gilleran Johnson's courtroom Wednesday for a hearing to determine if he should be held for a trial in the matter.

If a judge or jury finds Robinson's mental state creates "a substantial probability that he will engage in acts of sexual violence in the future," he can be confined until doctors determine no threat exists, Curran said.

A similar petition is expected to be filed today in the case of Herbert Varner, 38, a former Highland Park resident serving a 13-year sentence and eligible for parole on Friday, Curran said.

Both men had prior out-of-state convictions for sexual offenses before their Lake County cases, court documents show.

Robinson was convicted of molesting an 11-year-old girl in Detroit and placed on probation just a few months before his arrest in Waukegan on Nov. 18, 1993 for molesting a 5-year-old girl.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse in the second case on Feb. 25, 1994 and was sentenced to 10 years. Curran's petition says Robinson has refused sex offender treatment while in prison.

Varner was convicted of molesting a 10-year-old girl in Long Beach, Calif., in 1982 and of a similar offense in Lake County on Nov. 17, 1992, Curran said.

Varner now denies molesting any children, shows no remorse for his victims and declined to participate in sex offender treatment, Curran said. …