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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Sex offender dies at commitment center


    A man convicted of child molestation in Walla Walla County and suspected of being a sexually violent predator has died at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.

    William A. Harris was being held at the center pending a civil commitment trial that was scheduled to begin in Walla Walla County Superior Court later this year. But the state Attorney General’s Office received word April 4 – Harris’ 63rd birthday — that he had died.

    His death wasn’t unexpected. Previous court documents revealed that Harris suffered from a number of medical problems, the most severe of which was advanced liver cancer.

    Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht signed an order Friday formally dismissing the civil commitment case.

    Harris had completed his criminal sentences, but was being detained under a petition filed by the AG’s Office in September 2007 seeking to lock him up indefinitely.

    Harris pleaded guilty in 1998 to first-degree child molestation for fondling a 5-year-old girl at Fort Walla Walla Park.

    He previously was convicted of having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl in Columbia County in 1973, and having sexual contact with a 4-year-old girl in Orange County, Fla., in 1985.

    Harris suffered from pedophilia, substance abuse and antisocial personality disorder, according to the petition.

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