Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
JURY DECIDES CHILD MOLESTER SHOULD BE
CIVILLY COMMITTED FOR BEING A
CONTINUED THREAT TO SOCIETY
SANTA ANA – A jury unanimously decided today that a sexually violent child molester should remain in a mental hospital as a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) after a 1-month civil commitment jury trial and found that he is a continued threat to children and the community. This was the third civil commitment trial in two years against Sid Landau, 69, who has previously been convicted of multiple counts of child molestation. Two juries, in 2006 and 2008, were unable to reach a unanimous decision in Landau’s case.
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 he/she is likely to re-offend unless he/she is 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 lures for children. In 2000, Landau was placed in a mental hospital, where he has been committed for the past eight years.
The People presented 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, molested an 8-year-old boy over the course of three years. In 1970, he molested 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 was used to show his continued pattern of sexual deviance. During the trial, doctors stated that based on the defendant’s number of known victims and rate of offenses, he likely had between 1,000 and 1,500 undetected molests prior to his first conviction.
The defendant’s request during this trial was to be released from his civil commitment and be allowed to move to New York to live with his brother and sister-in-law. The People argued that this plan offered no guarantee that Landau would pursue treatment in New York and may have access to children. Landau has declined to participate in treatment programs during the past eight years while civilly committed and recently stopped using a prescription medication for depression, a side effect of which is a reduced sex drive.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Wagner prosecuted this case.