A jury took under an hour, excluding lunch, Tuesday to civilly commit a convicted rapist to state custody likely for the rest of his life.
Albert A. Brooks, 67, showed no emotion as the jury confirmed that the state provided enough evidence to show that Brooks is a sexually violent predator who is likely to reoffend if released into the community.
“Naturally, we are disappointed,” defense attorney Marla Polin said. Testing “supported his self reporting that he was no longer experiencing these deviant fantasies.”
Brooks was convicted in 1978 for rape of a 15-year-old girl in Kootenai County, and then he committed a series of rapes that resulted in convictions in 1989 for first-degree kidnapping and first-degree rape of a child.
He’d been in state custody for the past 24 years until the state began the process to have him civilly committed to the Special Commitment Center at McNeil Island.
“He admitted he was out stalking young girls as young as 10,” Assistant Attorney General Malcolm Ross said. “He said he did it over 100 times.”
In the mid-1980s, after he’d been released from prison for the Idaho rape, Spokane area law enforcement set up a sting trying to find a man who had been driving around schools abducting children. “The victims were never able to identify him,” Ross said of Brooks.
But the jury found enough justification to unanimously commit Brooks despite the arguments by Polin.
“He admitted to the two sex offenses” that led to his convictions, Polin said. “But the state’s case is based on allegations … that are 30 years old. Has the state shown evidence of a current mental abnormality?”
But Ross countered in closing arguments that as late as 2008 Brooks admitted having deviant thoughts about young children.
“The state’s case is not just based on what he did 24 years ago,” Ross said.
A child would believe they were about to die if they faced a man trying to kidnap and rape them, he said.
“If you saw a child in that condition … you would reach out to help that child. What does Mr. Brooks do? He becomes sexually aroused,” Ross said. “That’s sick. It does not just go away in the middle of treatment.”
Former Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas used Brooks as an example in 1995 as he lobbied to allow law enforcement agencies to release the identities, photographs and criminal histories of convicted sex offenders.
Upon his release from prison in 1986, Brooks moved to Rathdrum where he lived a quiet life.
“The day after his last parole hearing,” Douglas told The Spokesman-Review, “he goes to Spokane and commits a series of child rapes.”