Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
CHILD MOLESTER FACES THIRD CIVIL
COMMITMENT TRIAL TO DETERMINE IF
HE IS A CONTINUED THREAT TO SOCIETY
SANTA ANA – A sexually violent child molester will face a civil commitment jury trial tomorrow to determine if he should remain in a mental hospital. The People will argue that Sid Landau, 69, who has previously been convicted of multiple counts of child molestation and served time in state prison, is a continued threat to the community and should remain in a mental care facility as a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP). This will be Landau’s third civil commitment trial in two years. Two juries, in 2006 and 2008, were unable to reach a unanimous decision in Landau’s case. Opening statements are scheduled to begin tomorrow, Tuesday, July 8, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. in Department C-43, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Under the law, SVPs are subject to mental health reviews once they have completed their criminal sentence. The People file a petition to have the defendant civilly committed and a jury is presented evidence to decide if the defendant is a continued threat to the community. There are three criteria that must be met in order to designate a person as SVP. First, the defendant must have committed at least two sexually violent offenses. Second, he/she must be diagnosed with a mental disorder. Finally, it must be found that they are likely to re-offend unless they are held in custody and treated. If these three conditions are met and the petition is found true by the jury, the defendant is admitted into a mental care facility.
In 1982, Landau was convicted of molesting a 10-year-old boy and sentenced to three years in state prison. He was arrested again in 1987 for molesting a 5-year-old boy, but the case was ultimately dismissed. In 1988, Landau pleaded guilty to 18 counts of lewd acts on a child for molesting a 9-year-old boy and received 17 years in state prison. He was paroled in 1996, but only spent 15 months free over the next four years, as he continued to be admitted to mental hospitals for extended periods of time for violating the terms of his parole. This included confessing to going to the zoo, a violation because Landau is prohibited from going to places where children are known to congregate, assaulting a camera man, and possessing teddy bears in his home, items which are considered lures for children. In 2000, Landau was placed in a mental hospital, where he has been committed for the past eight years.
The People will present evidence during the trial that Landau molested additional victims, for whom he was never charged because the statute of limitations had run. Beginning in 1961, Landau, then 21, is accused of molesting an 8-year-old boy over the course of three years. In 1970, he is accused of molesting another 8-year-old boy, and continued to do so until the boy was 15. While Landau can no longer be charged with these crimes due to the statute of limitations, this evidence will be used to show his continued pattern of sexual deviance.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Wagner is prosecuting this case.