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Larson bound over for trial
Ryan Larson (L) appeared in Lafayette County Circuit Court on Friday, Feb. 21 for a probable cause hearing. Law student Megumi Saito (R) conducted the hearing on behalf of the defense with attorney Lawrence Peterson assisting.

    Ryan Larson, 34, appeared in Lafayette County Circuit Court on Friday, Feb. 21 for a probable cause hearing regarding a petition filed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) on the topic of Larson’s commitment.

Lafayette County Circuit Court Judge William Johnston declared that the state had met the burden for finding probably cause during the hearing and the case will move forward.

The DOJ petition alleged that Larson is a sexually violent person and should be committed for treatment.  

Larson was convicted of charges of first-degree sexual assault while using a dangerous weapon and false imprisonment in Lafayette County Circuit Court on March 3, 2004 for a situation in which Larson traveled to the home of a 24-year-old female victim and threatened her with a knife for intimate contact.

Larson was then sentenced on May 27, 2004, to serve a nine-year term of initial confinement and an eleven-year term of extended supervision with respect to the sexual assault charge and a one-year term of imprisonment followed by a period of four years of extended supervision with respect to the false imprisonment charge. 

Larson’s release date was to be Feb. 21, 2014, the date he once again appeared in court, but Larson was released on Feb. 18 and detained at a Department of Health Services facility until the trial in Lafayette County.

During Friday’s probable cause hearing the court heard testimony from Dr. Melissa Westendorf, a licensed psychologist employed by the Department of Corrections, who after a review of Larson’s records and history diagnosed him with the mental disorders of sexual sadism disorder and anti-social personality disorder. 

“Based on my risk assessment, he [Larson] is more likely than not to commit a future sexual offense,” said Westendorf.
Representing Larson was public defender Lawrence Peterson and law student Megumi Saito, who listed Larson’s willingness to engage and candidness in cooperating with treatment programs while at Oshkosh Correctional Institute as well as positive work evaluations and support from family as reasons for Larson being unlikely to reoffend.

The defense also filed a request for substitution of judge and on Tuesday, Feb. 25 a notice of assignment of judge was filed by the Lafayette County clerk of courts listing Judge James Beer as the new judge assigned to the case.
Larson will next appear in court for a scheduling conference on Wednesday, March 26 at 9:30 a.m.