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CEO Resigns At McNeil Island Lock-Up For Sexual Predators

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
The Special Commitment Center on McNeil island houses more than 252 sexually violent predators.

The man in charge of Washington’s island-lock-up for sexual predators has resigned after two-and-a-half years on the job. Mark Strong submitted his resignation Friday as CEO of the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.

In a statement, Strong said a leadership change is in the best interest of the facility as it seeks to improve its treatment and rehabilitation program.

Last year, the state was threatened with a lawsuit over the treatment of mentally ill sex offenders at the facility.

Washington's Department of Social and Health Services has already named a new CEO--he is the state’s former lead attorney on issues relating to the Special Commitment Center.

DSHS also announced Friday that it’s moving SCC’s headquarters from Steilacoom on the mainland to McNeil Island where the actual facility is located.

The SCC houses individuals who have been civilly committed after a court has determined them to be sexually violent predators likely to reoffend.

Last fall, Disability Rights Washington prepared, but ultimately didn’t file, a lawsuit against DSHS alleging the constitutional rights of mentally and developmentally disabled residents at the SCC were being violated.

At the time, Strong acknowledged shortcomings.

“We’re still falling short,” he said, “but we’re moving in the right direction.”