Sex offender: 'I had sexual needs that weren't being met'

Sex offender: 'I had sexual needs that weren't being met' »Play Video

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash.-- A Yakima County sex offender explains why he should live among the rest of us. It's been two years since Jonathan Parsons finished serving his time for raping a child. But, he hasn't been set free. Prosecutors are fighting to keep him in prison.

Jonathan Parsons has been in and out of trouble with the law since he was a teenager, convicted of raping and molesting kids. A videotaped deposition from 2012 presented by the prosecution shows Parsons explaining his actions.

"Why did you offend?" a state attorney asked in the video. 
"I had sexual needs that weren't being met," Parsons responded. 

Parsons first pleaded guilty to molesting an 11-year-old in 1989. He got 30 days in detention. In 1994, he got 18 months for raping a 14-year-old boy.

"I used that opportunity to meet my sexual needs in an unhealthy matter," Parsons said.

His third and most recent offense was in 1997. He was convicted the next year of second degree rape and molestation involving a 13-year-old boy. That got him 14 and a half years. Now, he says he's changed.

"I understand why I offend," Parsons says in the video. "I understand what triggers are, coping skills for sexual needs."

The defense plans to argue Parsons is no longer a threat to the public. His lawyers argue he was sexually abused and confused about being homosexual. Yet while in prison, he committed a major infraction for sexual activity. He went through a sex offender treatment program and claims he can control his urges.
     
"What steps can you take to never be in that situation?" A state attorney asked.
"Not being around schools, not being around parks," he responded. 

State prosecutors don't think that's enough. They have to prove Parsons is a sexually violent predator to keep him off the streets. If so, he would be sent to the state's Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.

Parsons was taken into custody immediately after being released almost two years ago to pursue the civil commitment. The case is expected to continue into next week and possibly the week after that. While this is a civil matter, a jury will decide the case.