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In re Commitment of Manuel

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

June 13, 2019

IN RE THE COMMITMENT OF BRADLEY JAMES MANUEL, Appellant

          On Appeal from the 185th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 681719-0101Z

          Panel consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Higley and Hightower.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          SHERRY RADACK CHIEF JUSTICE

         Appellant, Bradley James Manuel, appeals his civil commitment under the sexually violent predator ["SVP"] statute. See Tex. Health & Safety Code §§ 841.001-.153. For a person to be found to be a sexually violent predator, two elements must be proved: (1) the person is a repeat sexually violent offender, and (2) the person suffers from a behavioral abnormality that makes the person likely to engage in a predatory act of sexual violence. Id. § 841.003(a). In two related issues on appeal, appellant contends that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to prove the second issue, i.e., that he suffers from the requisite "behavioral abnormality." We affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         Two witnesses testified at the civil commitment trial: Appellant and Dr. Randall Price, a forsensic psychologist. Their testimony is summarized as follows:

         Appellant's testimony

         Appellant testified that he was sexually abused by an aunt from the age of 3 until 11; he also claimed that his father sexually abused him. Appellant claimed to have a good childhood, until fourth grade, when he became rebellious. He eventually dropped out of school in the 9th grade. At the age of 12 or 13, he began using drugs, including marihuana, cocaine, LSD, and heroin. He also sold drugs and exchanged drugs for sex. Appellant also acknowledged being an alcoholic.

         Appellant met his common-law wife when he was 20; she had two children under the age of two at the time. His wife soon had two more children during their marriage. Appellant gave deposition testimony acknowledging that he touched his step-daughter inappropriately when he was bathing her beginning when she was a one-year-old. He also acknowledged that he bathed both his step-daughter's and step-son's genitals "roughly" because he resented being asked to bathe them.

         Appellant thought his step-children were "promiscuous" because the boy, then six years old, would masturbate and "mess with his sister." He testified that the boy and girl, then four years old, would play together in a sexual manner.

         One night, appellant's wife left him with the children and went to work. He was drinking, smoking marihuana, and watching pornography. He left the room for a while and returned to find the boy and girl watching the pornography and "playing with each other." It made appellant angry, and he yelled at them, "if that's what you'll want to do then that's what you-all are going to do." He then made the girl put her mouth on the boy's penis, and made the boy put his penis in the girl's vagina. When the girl complained that it hurt, appellant made the boy go take a shower. Appellant then made the girl perform oral sex on him before he penetrated her both vaginally and anally. When the girl screamed, appellant stopped and he made her take a bath because "what they did was disgusting."

         CPS became involved and took custody of the children. While the CPS investigation was proceeding, appellant slept at some friends' house. The friends had three boys, ages 2, 5, and 6. While he was staying there, the two older boys claimed that appellant tied the older boy to a bed and raped him, while making the younger boy watch.

         Appellant pleaded guilty to raping his step-daughter, and, though he continued to deny any other offense, was convicted of raping his friends' son. He was sentenced to 25 years' confinement for each offense.

         While in prison, appellant earned his GED and took some college classes. He also did some on-the-job training. He also got into trouble in prison for exposing himself to a female guard that he claimed was "coming on" to him. He claimed that he does not need treatment for ...


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