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A motion by the State of Iowa to dismiss a petition alleging an inmate to be a sexually violent predator was filed Jan. 9, 2020.

Why?

Because, according to the Storm Lake Times, Joseph Matthew Smith received treatment for gender reassignment over the past two years at Newton Correctional Facility.

In November, the Storm Lake Times reported Smith was “undergoing medical treatment that is needed prior to (Smith) potentially undergoing gender reassignment surgery.”

The Storm Lake Times reported Smith first expressed a desire to start transgender classification in October of 2017. That’s when Smith started using female pronouns.

The paper also reported Smith has expressed a preference to identify as Josie, according to court documents.

Smith, 23, was convicted previously of sexual abuse in the second degree when he was 15 years old. The date listed on the Iowa Sex Offender registry is Aug. 26, 2012. The female victim’s age was 0-13.

He was 16 when convicted for lascivious acts with a child. The date listed is March 3, 2014. The male victim was 0-13.

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According to the Storm Lake Times, a preliminary report prepared by the State’s expert, Dr. Jeffrey Davis, says that Smith molested as many as 15 victims, ranging from ages 1-13, before being sentenced to prison in December of 2015.

The report recommended Smith be confined at the Cherokee Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders for an indefinite period, but it was based upon Smith having the sex drive of a man.

Dr. Tracy Thomas, a forensic psychologist and former clinical director of CCUSO, told the Storm Lake Times that statute outlines civil commitment requires the state to “essentially prove an offender has a chance offending greater than 51 percent for the rest of his life.” It becomes harder to prove when an offender significantly lowers his testosterone levels. Thomas added there are no women confined at CCUSO.

According to the Iowa Sex Offender registry, Smith’s gender is still listed as male. He is 6 feet, 210 pounds. The registry does not list any aliases either.

District court judge David Lester considered the motion and granted the motion to dismiss “in the interests of justice.”

Joseph Smith, the respondent in the matter, “should be released from the confinement previously ordered in these proceedings, and (Smith) should no longer be required to answer to the Petition of the State of Iowa alleging that (Smith) is a sexually violent predator.”

Court costs for the motion to dismiss is being taxed to the State. Smith is to be released from confinement upon completion of his sex offender registration.

The Iowa Attorney General office filed the motion to dismiss on Jan. 9, 2020.

It notes that on July 18, 2018, pursuant to Iowa Code 229A.5 (2), the Court found probable cause to believe that Smith is a sexually violent predator. The trial was set for March 11, 2020.

However, after reviewing additional information, the State’s expert indicated his opinion is that Smith does not meet the criteria as a sexually violent predator.

“The State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the Respondent suffers from a mental abnormality that makes it more likely than not that he will engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if not confined for treatment,” it reads. “In light of the evaluation results of the State’s expert, the State does not have sufficient evidence to proceed in this case.”

Lynn Hicks, communications director for the Attorney General’s office, said he cannot comment on Smith’s medical records.

“In general, an offender’s hormone levels are among the criteria that are considered,” he said.

The Storm Lake Times reported that Hicks said the AG’s office doesn’t believe it has evidence sufficient to prove “Josie Smith has a significant chance of reoffending.”

In the same article, Hicks cautioned the public not to overreact to Smith’s release as Smith will be subject to sex-offender registration requirements for the rest of his life.

“Josie Smith will be subject to the strict sex-offender reporting required of those who commit the crimes she did,” Hicks reportedly said. “She’ll be subject to supervision for the rest of her life.”

The Iowa Standard asked Hicks if Smith’s gender will be updated on the Sex Offender registry and he said he would check, stating he isn’t sure this has happened before.