Sacto 9-1-1
September 10, 2013
Man convicted of 1990s sex assaults to be committed to state hospital

A Sacramento County jury today determined that a man convicted of sexually assaulting two Sacramento-area women in the 1990s is a sexually violent predator and should not be released into the community.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Gerrit Wood subsequently ordered Laurence Harris committed to the custody of the California Department of State Hospitals for an indeterminate period of time in confinement and treatment, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.

In 1972 in Los Angeles County, Harris sexually assaulted and viciously attacked a woman in her apartment with an ice pick. As a result, he was convicted of residential burglary and personally inflicting great bodily injury. He served five years in a state hospital and was released in 1978.

In the 1990s, Harris was living in Sacramento and was employed as a psychiatric nurse for the Sacramento Mental Health Center where he met and befriended a woman who was a patient, authorities said. After the patient was discharged from the hospital, she agreed to go on a date with Harris, and he sexually assaulted her.

About 10 days later, Harris sexually assaulted another patient in her room while she was in a heavily medicated state, authorities said. He was convicted of sexually assaulting both women and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

After serving his prison sentence and before he was released into the community, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office filed a petition to have Harris declared a sexually violent predator under California law. The law is intended to protect society from and provide treatment for sexually violent predators who have diagnosable mental disorders and who are determined to be unsafe if released into the community, officials said.

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