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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Man to be jailed until predator trial is held

A judge ruled Monday that there is probable cause to hold a 47-year-old Spokane man in custody until a jury can decide whether he should be placed under state control for the rest of his life as a sexually violent predator.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque appointed private attorney Tim Trageser to defend Richard D. Frye in the civil commitment trial.

No trial date was set.

The process for subjecting sexually violent predators to incarceration or permanent supervision is similar to the procedure for sending people to mental hospitals as a danger to themselves or others.

Frye has been convicted of four sexually violent offenses against men, starting in June 1982 when he was in the Navy and assaulted a 19-year-old seaman.

In that case, according to court documents filed by the state Attorney General’s Office, Frye admitted committing the rape at knifepoint after drinking onshore in the Philippines.

Frye was convicted of sodomy and assault with intent to commit sodomy and was given a bad-conduct discharge and a year at hard labor.

Within months of his release, Frye assaulted a 12-year-old boy he met while doing yardwork at a Spokane apartment complex. Frye lured the boy to a park and pulled a gun on him. The boy wrestled the gun away and fired it at Frye, but it turned out to be a pellet gun.

According to court documents, Frye told the boy he was just kidding. Then he put his arm around the boy’s neck and begged unsuccessfully for the boy to perform a sex act.

Frye pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, and was sentenced to three months in jail.

His probation was later revoked when he failed to complete sex-offender treatment at Eastern State Hospital.

In July 1997, Frye pleaded no contest to first-degree child rape involving an 11-year-old boy.

He is now finishing an eight-year prison sentence, and state officials want to keep him locked up.

To be committed as a sexually violent predator, Frye must have been convicted of at least one felony such as those he committed against the seaman and against the 12- and 11-year-old boys in Spokane.

In addition, though, Frye pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in Spokane County District Court in July 1979 for sexually molesting a 14-year-old boy who was delivering newspapers.

State officials say Frye later admitted he intended to rape the boy, whom he released when he noticed a witness was watching.

Besides establishing Frye’s criminal record, the Attorney General’s Office must convince a jury that Frye has a mental problem that makes it difficult for him to control sexually violent urges.

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