A convicted child molester who claimed “the Devil made me do it” after assaulting two girls will be kept in state custody for treatment after a York County jury unanimously ruled the man is a sexually violent predator who is likely to re-offend if released.
After a short trial that ended Tuesday afternoon in York, jurors ruled Herman Lee Archie, 51, who refused to accept treatment while in prison for sexual disorders, should not be released from prison. He was sentenced for sexually assaulting two girls aged 3 and 10.
Archie’s 8-year sentence was set to end in September, but prosecutors with the S.C. Attorney General Office filed a seldom-used suit earlier this year under South Carolina’s sexually violent predator law, asking that Archie be held indefinitely at an institution for treatment because he was a threat to society.
The law that allows South Carolina to keep convicted sex criminals incarcerated is only used against serial rapists and other convicted sex crime defendants, but requires a jury or judge to determine that the molester is a threat.
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Experts for Archie and prosecutors testified about Archie’s condition. The prosecution’s expert told jurors that Archie was caught by another man with his hands between the legs of a 3-year-old girl, and later while on bond after arrest was caught with yet another victim.
Archie pleaded guilty to the crimes, but when examined by mental health providers denied the crimes.
Archie now will be held a state institution for mental health treatment, but there is no timetable on when he might be released. Archie will be re-examined by health care providers at least yearly and can seek release.