Jasper County, IA – A man convicted of sex crimes is no longer considered a threat now that he has decided to become a woman, so authorities are releasing him into the public.
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office initially sought to have 23-year-old Joseph Matthew Smith committed indefinitely to the Cherokee Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders (CCUSO), the Des Moines Register reported.
A report by state expert Dr. Jeffrey Davis said that Smith molested as many as 15 boys and girls between the ages of one and 13 years old before he was caught, convicted, and sentenced to prison in December of 2015.
Dr. Davis said in his report that Smith was likely to commit more sex crimes within five years if he was released because he was under 25, he had never had a real long-term relationship, and his victims were of both genders, according to the Des Moines Register.
“Mr. Smith has not had an intimate relationship,” Dr. Davis wrote in the report. “His sexual encounters appear to have primarily involved molestation, including his own molestation by multiple perpetrators, or his victimization of others.”
The doctor’s report recommended that Smith be confined to CCUSO for an indefinite period of time.
But in November of 2019, the Storm Lake Times reported that “Joe Smith” had started using feminine pronouns and had become “Josie Smith.”
Smith initially asked to “get started on transgender classification” in October of 2017 and is now “undergoing medical treatment that is needed prior to [Smith] potentially undergoing gender reassignment surgery,” the Des Moines Register reported.
And now that Smith has spent two years at the Newton Correctional Facility becoming a woman, the state is less concerned about him re-offending and being a sex offender.
Court records showed that the Iowa attorney general on Jan. 9 dismissed the application for Smith’s commitment to CCUSO, the Des Moines Register reported.
Lynn Hicks, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general, wouldn’t explain the reason the state dismissed the request for commitment but said “an offender’s hormone levels are an important part of substantiating an offender’s likelihood of recidivism.”
Former clinical director of CCUSO Dr. Tracy Thomas, a forensic psychologist, said that the state must “essentially prove an offender has a chance offending greater than 51% for the rest of his life” in order to get a civil commitment, the Des Moines Register reported.
“From an evaluator’s standpoint, our recommendation is based on whether someone is more than likely to re-offend,” Thomas explained. “Between 5 percent and 15 percent of sex offenders re-offend, so it takes an extraordinarily high burden to prove someone has a 51 percent chance.”
He said that its much harder to prove a sex offender will offend again when he significantly lowers his hormone levels by transitioning to another gender, the Des Moines Register reported.
Thomas also said that there are no female offenders in CCUSO.
Hicks cautioned the public not to get worked up over Smith’s pending release into the community because “Josie” will be required to comply with sex-offender registration requirements the same as any other offender, the Des Moines Register reported.
“Josie Smith will be subject to strict sex-offender reporting required of those who commit the crimes she did,” the attorney general’s spokesman said. “She’ll be subject to supervision for the rest of her life.”
Hicks said it was the first time the Attorney General’s Office has run into his problem, the Des Moines Register reported.
“We don’t believe we have evidence sufficient to prove Josie Smith has a significant chance of reoffending,” Hicks said.
Smith was transferred to the Sioux City Residential Treatment Facility for transitional release on Jan. 13, the Des Moines Register reported.
The sex offender’s actual release date from that facility has not been announced.