Officially 'A Danger to Society'?

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 19, 2012 | Go to article overview

Officially 'A Danger to Society'?


Byline: Harry Hitzeman Legal Affairs Writer hhitzeman@dailyherald.com -CLMN-

If Daniel P. Stage Jr. was a regular prisoner at the Illinois Department of Corrections, he'd be free today after serving a four-year sentence for aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

But authorities believe Stage, a 37-year-old former resident of Aurora and North Aurora, is far from rehabilitated and is a serious threat to others.

So much a threat that the Illinois attorney general's office wants Stage declared a sexually violent person under a 1998 law and committed to custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services at the Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility, according to court records and state officials.

He is being detained while his case is pending.

Since the law went into effect in 1998, the attorney general's office has had 331 people committed to the Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility, operated by the state's Department of Human Services, until they are deemed fit to re-enter society.

Of those cases, seven were defendants in Kane County cases. There also are five other Kane County cases pending, said Scott Mulford, spokesman for the attorney general's office.

In a court-ordered evaluation, Stage gave a psychologist a chilling account of a pattern of sexual abuse of preteen girls and mentally disabled males and females dating back to the early 1990s in Elgin, Bloomingdale and an unspecified hospital, court records show.

The evaluation is the most significant piece of evidence as authorities attempt to show that Stage is preying on the weakest and most defenseless people in society.

"The petition speaks for itself," Mulford said. "We've done a number of these. It is our contention they pose a danger to society. That is part and parcel with the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act."

Kane County authorities charged Stage in 2007 with predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a toddler during several months in 2000. He eventually pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse, got credit for 164 days in jail while his case was pending, along with four years' probation and sex offender treatment.

But he violated his probation by failing to register as a sex offender and was given a four-year term.

In a three-hour interview last May with a licensed clinical psychologist, Stage gave a "matter-of-fact" account of sexually abusing at least 10 other victims and said his behavior began at 15 when he molested a 9-year-old girl that he was baby-sitting, court records show.

"While Mr. Stage accepted guilt for his sexual offenses and evidenced a grasp of the wrongfulness, he offered matter-of-fact accounts of the offense and did not seem remorseful with regard to the victims of his offenses," wrote psychologist Deborah Nicolai in her evaluation. …

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