Sex offender claims he was unfairly punished for watching HBO in state facility

Posted at 11:27 AM, Jul 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-30 11:27:01-04

Richmond, Va. – A human rights advocate for a state facility that provides treatment for civilly committed sex offenders has filed a complaint alleging residents have been unfairly punished for watching HBO.

The complaint was filed on July 21st with the Virginia Center for Behavioral Services on behalf of residents at the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR).

VCBR is a residential treatment facility for civilly committed sexually violent predators, according to the facility’s website.

“On the weekend of June the 27th, HBO was offered as a promotional by the cable provider,” committed sex offender Elijah Howell said. Howell and fellow committed sex offender Robert Baugh told WTVR they watched “We Are the Millers” that weekend with approval from a VCBR staff member.

“He said the programming was pre-approved, and there would be no problem with us watching it,” Howell said.

But, the next day, they said roughly 50 of the more than 200 residents at VCBR were punished for watching nudity on HBO and accused of “sexual behavior.”

The human rights advocate at VCBR who filed the complaint, Tammy Long, alleges the residents did not engage in sexual behavior. She cites VCBR’s facility instructions, which state sexual behavior involves physical contact.