IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF THE STATE OF IDAHO, IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF LATAH
STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff
STEVEN JAMES SITLER, Defendant.
Case No. CR 2005-02027
GREGORY L. WILSON, Ph.D.
STATE OF WASHINGTON
County of Whitman
GREGORY L. WILSON, Ph.D., being first duly sworn, deposes and says:
- I have filed Affidavits in this Latah County case both in March 2006 and in April 2006. I incorporate by this reference the contents of those Affidavits in order to reduce the size of this present Affidavit.
- A true copy of my most recent curriculum vitae is attached hereto as Exhibit “A.”
- I am a licensed psychologist in the State of Washington (#1308), and have provided testimony in federal and state courts including Washington, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and South Dakota. I am a member of the Washington State Psychological Association. I am a founding member of the Sexual Abuse Task Force in Whitman County, Washington. I have taught college graduate courses in clinical psychology in connection with child and adult sexual abuse, among other areas. I specialize in clinical and forensic psychology and have been working with, evaluating, testing, and counseling sex offenders since 1982 in Deer Lodge County and Missoula County, Montana, in Whitman County and Asotin County, Washington, in Latah County and Nez Perce County, Idaho, and in Great Britain, among other places. Additional details regarding my education, professional credentials and experience, honors and awards, et cetera, are set out in my curriculum vitae.
- I have received both specialized training and experience with sex offenders for more than thirty years and I am very familiar with the testing materials and data related to sex offenders.
- I have counseled with Mr. Steven Sitler for several years, beginning in 2006. (I refer to this man hereafter in this Affidavit as “Steven” or as “Mr. Sitler.”)
- I recognize that in July 2005 Steven entered a plea of guilty to a charge of lewd conduct with a minor under sixteen (16) years of age, Idaho Code §18-1508, and that in September 2005 the Court committed Steven to the custody of the Idaho State Board of Correction for a period of life together with other penalties.
- In the past I obtained from Mr. Steve Lindsley a psycho-sexual evaluation report by him regarding Mr. Sitler together with Mr. Lindsley’s underlying testing and raw data. I have recently obtained and reviewed a June 2015 update evaluation by Paul M. Wert, Ph.D., regarding Mr. Sitler. I understand the Court has a copy of Dr. Wert’s report.
- The history set out by Dr. Wert in his June 2015 report is consistent with the history I am aware of regarding Mr. Sitler. In particular, there have been no allegations of “hands on” or contact re-offenses since Steven’s guilty plea often years ago; and after Steven’s son was born in March 2015 Steven was initially told by Probation and Parole that he could have a normalized relationship with his son.
- Steven Sitler initiated assessment and treatment services at Wilson Psychological Services in 2006. He has participated in over 100 treatment sessions over this nine years, along with multiple assessment procedures and maintenance sessions. Mr. Sitler has also been accompanied to selective sessions by his parents and, more recently, by his wife. I saw Steven in counseling in early June 2015 and my office is arranging another appointment at present.
- Over the last 10 years Mr. Sitler has successfully completed extensive components of treatment both at Valley Treatment Services and also at Wilson Psychological Services. In regard to Steven’s treatment performance and maintenance procedures, Mr. Sitler has successfully learned self-management skills; he has modified his cognitive and behavioral patterns consistent with treatment recommendations; and above all he has not re-offended.
- I have found Steven to be exceptionally honest at all times during his treatment and counseling.
- Sitler has been married for four years to an age-appropriate woman. I have found Steven’s wife to be impressive on her own merit, particularly as to her honesty and intelligence. Mrs. Katie Sitler is an asset in this situation — more so than many spouses in similar circumstances.
- Mr. and Mrs. Sitler now have a baby boy of a bit less than 4 months of age. At the current time, questions have apparently been raised about the relative safety of his young son in Mr. Sitler’s care given Mr. Sitler’s previous sexual offense history.
- In my opinion Mr. Sitler is a positive candidate for successfully parenting his son in the family home. Some of my reasoning follows.
- Over the last 30+ years, I have been involved in the assessment and treatment of many sexual offenders. This work has included a substantial amount of experience over the decades with men who have sexually offended minors and then later either reconciled with their wives or gotten married and had children in the home while they were on probation. In fact, there were several times in the past when I was working with Mr. Steve Lindsley that I worked with the young victim while Mr. Lindsley worked with the sex offender. At the right point in time we would work through family re-integration — where the sex offender and the mom and the minor victim began living together again. We routinely worked on family re-integration in this context. Over time I developed and implemented procedures for the successful “re-integration,” when appropriate, of familial offenders and their in-home victims. In Mr. Sitler’s case, there was no offense within the home; that is, neither his wife nor child are his victims. Nevertheless, an examination of the “re-integration” process likely would be helpful to the Court’s understanding of my opinions herein.
- Specifically, I have regularly recommended in a family integration circumstance — where the offense involved the sex offender’s own in-home family — that the offender successfully complete sexual offender treatment (generally 2–3 years in length) before any substantial efforts were to begin towards family re-integration. Simultaneously, the victim was provided trauma-based individual treatment plus family treatment with the non-offending parent (and siblings, if appropriate). Then, only after the victim’s and offender’s treatments were successfully completed, family re-integration therapy actively began.
- During family re-integration treatment I have regularly recommended that the victim and the offender participate in therapeutic sessions together to develop safety plans, family rules, communication skills, and conflict resolution strategies. The offender would actively assume full responsibility for the offense and describe specific steps that he/she would follow to prevent relapse. Similarly, the victim would be encouraged to express emotions (e.g., anger, hurt, confusion), to communicate fears, and to resolve psychological distress that arose because of the victimization by a trusted family member. In addition, re-integration family counseling sessions with the offender, victim, and the non-offending parent and siblings were added as appropriate to ensure safety within the home.
- What I have looked for in such a family re-integration process when deciding whether or not to support having the rehabilitating sex offender reside in the home with children (who have been victims):
- That the sex offender has completed his treatment.
- That the sex offender’s spouse becomes a chaperone and is fully informed of everything she needs to know.
- That there is complete disclosure of everything — past and present — between the rehabilitating sex offender and his spouse.
- In my experience, if the offender has worked hard in treatment, especially for years, and has followed the strategies learned and has not re-offended: residing at home with the probationer’s child can work well.
- As mentioned and as the Court is aware, in Mr. Sitler’s case there was no offense within his home. Specifically, neither his wife nor his baby son were his victims. Still, all of the important points I have looked for in the more difficult family re-integration process have been accomplished here as to this probationer. Steven has diligently worked in the Sex Offender program not for two or three years but for almost ten years; he completed all of his treatment years ago. Steven has a good record over a decade especially when one considers the level of surveillance over Steven. Additionally, Mr. Sitler’s wife has been fully informed of Mr. Sitler’s sexual assault history and she has completed chaperone training with Valley Treatment Specialties. There has been and is complete disclosure of everything between Steven and his spouse.
- I note that Dr. Wert concluded that Steven “does not currently present as a sexual risk to his son.”
- Therefore, unlike family re-integration therapy involving familial offenders and victims, the steps involved in ensuring safety within the Sitler home appear straight-forward to me and have been successfully managed since the child’s birth in late March 2015. Specifically, Mr. Sitler should remain on probation, he should complete requested polygraph examinations, he may meet whatever additional requirements Valley Treatment Specialties has put in place, and he should maintain regular maintenance sessions at Wilson Psychological Services — as he has for a good share of the last nine years.
- For the short term Steven will come in to see me about once per month. Separately, Katie will come in to see me also for visits/consults, sometimes with and sometimes without Steven. This will add to the safety net.
- I note that this circumstance — having Steven and his wife and his baby in the home — is less difficult than family re-integrations I have observed where rehabilitating sex offenders have lived with actual victims in the same residence.
- Sitler should continue to be honest with his wife, treatment providers, and probation regarding his relapse prevention strategies and any difficulties that he may encounter. Consistent with the information presented by Dr. Wert and Blaine Holman, IDOC, Mr. Sitler continues to represent a positive candidate for successfully parenting his son.
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before this 15th day of July, 2015.
Anna M. Hernandez
Notary Public in and for the State of
Washington, Residing at Pullman, WA
My commission expires 8/5/2018
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that on the 28th day of July, 2015, I caused to be served a true and correct copy of the foregoing hand delivered to:
Latah County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
P.O. Box 8068
Moscow, ID 83843