Wednesday, February 19, 2014

FloriDUH State Rep. Matt Gaetz wants us to forgive his past while condemning others

FloriDUH state rep Matt Gaetz has a mugshot online from a 2008 DUI arrest. Of course, he got off without enduring the same sanctions as the rest of us would for refusing a breathalyzer.

And yet, while Gaetz wants us to ignore his own past, he is using sex offenders as his platform for his reelection campaign.

Matt Gaetz already has a nomination for dumbest quote, but now that he is blatantly using sex offenders as a political platform, in addition to a recent article criticizing Wisconsin's hire of the former director of FloriDUH's SVP program, who was forced out after last year's Shiitake-worthy Sun-Slantinel article. Matt Gaetz should probably focus on not drinking and driving, or maybe his support of medical marijuana. I can see FloriDUH being the next state to legalize pot. They're obviously high down there.

Florida lawmaker says DHS should face "tough questions" about its new sex offender evaluation director

Posted: Feb 17, 2014 4:00 PM EST
Updated: Feb 17, 2014 4:12 PM EST

MADISON (WXOW) -- The man hired to be the new sexual offender evaluation director for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) resigned from a similar position in Florida last September, after defending the rights of sex offenders and allowing the number of offenders tagged as "sexual predators" to drop by more than half under his watch.

A DHS spokesperson says the agency has selected Dr. Daniel Montaldi to head up sex offender evaluations at Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston, but notes that the "hiring process is not complete."

Sand Ridge specializes in treatment services for offenders committed under Chapter 980, Wisconsin's sexually violent persons law.

Dr. Montaldi last served as the lead administrator for Florida's Sexually Violent Predator Program.

He resigned that position one day after the Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper wrote an article raising questions about is views and record.

As in Wisconsin, Florida law allows the state to keep sexual predators locked up after their prison sentences end.  Dr. Montaldi was in charge of the staff that would evaluate those offenders before they were released and recommend those likely to re-offend for continued confinement.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, the number of sex predator recommendations dropped considerably under Dr. Montaldi.  In the year before he became director, the program flagged 213 offenders as potential predators.  In the year under Dr. Montaldi's direction, that number dropped to 86.

"We learned that Florida had been releasing violent sexual predators under Mr. Montaldi's watch and that those violent sexual predators were re-offending, sometimes even the day or the same week they were released," Florida State Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-District 4) said on Monday.

Rep. Gaetz is the Chair of the Florida House Sub-Committee on Criminal Justice, who says he found not only Dr. Montaldi's record troubling, but also his comments on the civil rights of sex offenders.

The Sun-Sentinel reported that in an August 2013 email to members of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, Dr. Montaldi wrote:  "The value of liberty in a free society must also extend to society's most feared and despised members.  The civil rights of even sex offenders is still an important moral value."

"I think the people of Wisconsin should have a lot of questions about somebody that was essentially run out of the State of Florida because he used a position as an administrator with our sexually violent predator program to increase the propensity for releases for some very, very dangerous people," said Rep. Gaetz.

But in its statement, DHS downplayed those concerns.

"Dr. Montaldi has experience, expertise and philosophies that align with the Department's role under Chapter 980 with regard to the treatment and supervision of sex offenders as well as sex offender re-offense risk assessment.  He is widely recognized as a content expert in risk assessment and we are eager to have him join our staff," wrote DHS Spokesperson Stephanie Smiley. 

Smiley said that because the hire is not yet complete, she cannot confirm a start date or salary for Dr. Montaldi, but says the starting salary for the position was listed to go as high as $122,316 annually.

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