For Immediate Release
“Self-help” therapy not enough for sex offender, says prosecutor opposing parole
May 9, 2018
MOUNT CLEMENS, MI — Macomb County Prosecutor Eric J. Smith applauded a ruling last Thursday by Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Kathryn A. Viviano to reverse the Michigan Parole Board’s decision to parole convicted sex offender Carl Wissinger, whose treatment included “self-help” therapy.
“Self-help therapy does not assure the victims of rape and incest that their attacker has been rehabilitated,” said Smith. “Convicted rapists and child molesters do not have the self-control required to make self-help sex offender therapy successful.”
Wissinger, 59, was convicted in 2010 of two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree and sentenced to serve 88 to 180 months in prison. He had forced a mentally incapacitated adult into a bedroom and raped her despite her physical resistance. The woman had been assessed with the IQ of an eight year-old child.
The Parole Board scheduled a November 2017 release. Smith’s office argued Wissinger did not receive adequate sex offender therapy while in prison. Parole Board records show that Wissinger “has no history of sex offender treatment” as of April 2017. While in prison he did, “go through some of the [sex offender] materials with his therapist.” His participation in other department sanctioned programs, “Resulted in completion of self-help programming.” He was required to get sex offender therapy after release, when “referred by the field agent.”
Smith’s office argued that requiring sex offender therapy after the prisoner’s release, and not providing more therapy before release, was an abuse of discretion by the Parole Board.
Smith has a history of fighting for victims of sex crimes. The legal theory put forth by Smith’s Office is based on an important case his office won before the Court of Appeals in 2013, In re Parole of Craig Cehaich. Last Thursday, Judge Kathryn Viviano found the Court of Appeals’ reasoning persuasive when she granted the appeal by Smith’s Office and overturned the Parole Board’s decision to release Wissinger.