The Final Chapter Are Written Here
2010 Civil Commitment Trial
As this book goes to print, the final episode in the life of Ming Sen Shiue has not been written.
On April 19, 2010, a civil commitment trial was held in the courtroom of Judge Jennifer Walker Jasper in probate court in Anoka County relative to the State of Minnesota’s petition for civil commitment of Ming Sen Shiue as an alleged sexual psychopathic personality. If Shiue is designated a sexually dangerous person, meeting criteria for civil commitment, he will be confined indefinitely to the Maximum Security Hospital’s Sexual Psychopathic Treatment Center in Moose Lake, Minnesota.
The 2010 Civil Commitment Hearing
On the unseasonably warm and pleasant morning of April 19, 2010, Mary Louise Stauffer, her grown daughter Beth, and a group of their family members conversed quietly in a crowded waiting area outside a courtroom in the Anoka County Courthouse. All available seating was taken, and other interested parties, including media representatives from newsprint, local television stations, and national networks, lined the walls of the corridors leading to the courtroom.
Shortly before the 9:00 a.m. start of the civil commitment hearing, the quiet hum of onlookers fell silent as a hefty and grizzled Ming Sen Shiue emerged from the recesses of a dimly lit corridor. He was dressed in a faded orange prison-issue jumpsuit, thick grey socks and tan plastic sandals. Iron shackles encased his ankles and a twelve-inch length of chain dragged between his feet. Black-rimmed eyeglasses with milk-bottle thick lenses framed his vacant eyes. Manipulating a walker with neon green tennis balls affixed to the front legs, Shiue shuffled down the hallway leading to the courtroom. Those standing along the walls instinctively drew back, allowing him to pass.
Shiue, flanked by two uniformed bailiffs, stared vacantly, but boldly, ahead, not making eye contact with anyone, nor glancing around to seek out Mary and Beth in the crowd. Spectators averted their gaze, stealing furtive glances as he passed from the jail into the courtroom. Once inside the courtroom, he was led to the defense table and seated next to Public Defender Rick Mattox. Mattox and Shiue exchanged greetings with a nod of their heads. Shiue heaved a sigh as if the exertion of walking to the chair had drained his strength. He sat straight backed, staring ahead, waiting for the proceedings to begin.
Minutes later, Mary Stauffer, a full ten years older than Shiue, walked into the same courtroom. Healthy and strong, with her head held high and her eyes bright and inquisitive, she met each spectator’s curious glance with a genuine smile and took a seat in the last row of the gallery, directly behind the prosecution table. In the seats next to Mary sat her attractive thirty-eight-year-old daughter Beth, who was poised to take the stand that day, and Mary’s husband Irv. Other family members and friends filled the back row.
Unlike thirty years ago when Mary watched over Beth, protecting her as best she could during their captivity in Shiue’s house, their roles appeared to be reversed in the 2010 hearing. In the courtroom, Beth acted as caretaker for her mother, holding Mary’s hand during the prosecutor’s recitation of brutal testimony and again when Shiue read from lined sheets of paper his statement of guilt and remorse for the harm caused to the Stauffers and the Wilkmans. Beth glanced knowingly at Mary, acknowledging together the insincerity of Shiue’s rehearsed apology.
Shortly after 9:00 a.m., court was called into session with Judge Jenny Walker Jasper presiding. Assistant District Attorney Janice Allen began the prosecution’s case by calling Ming Sen Shiue to the stand. Shiue appeared calm and self confident on the stand. The main thrust of the prosecution’s queries to him were to establish that, at no time during his thirty years of incarceration at a multitude of correctional facilities, did he ever request treatment for his psycho sexual dysfunction. Shiue’s defense was that he was confined to maximum-security prisons that did not offer sex offender treatment. He asserted that for most of his time in prison, he was vulnerable to attack by other prisoners because they knew he had killed a child. Because of that threat, he was always given a “high risk,” security designation and those prisoners are not offered treatment.
In an effort to establish Shiue’s sexual sadism and to prove that Shiue was fulfilling his sadistic fantasies when he abducted Mary Stauffer, Allen compared excerpts from Shiue’s fantasy writings about Mary Stauffer and testimonies from the kidnapping trial detailing the actual rape and torture.
When the prosecutor indicated that she had no more questions for Shiue, he requested permission from the court to read a letter of apology. Reading from a sheaf of lined yellow paper, Shiue said he was sorry for ruining the Stauffers’ lives and killing Jason Wilkman. He recited words meant to reassure them that he no longer held any desire for Mary Stauffer nor would he ever harm them or anyone else again. He offered assurances to the court that he no longer had any sexual drive, that he is in poor health, and if he were released, he would not be a threat to anyone.
At the end of his reading, Allen commented that the apology would have seemed sincere had he spoken from his heart and not read from his polished text. Shiue was excused and shuffled back to his seat next to Rick Mattox.
Beth was sworn in immediately after Shiue left the stand, but not until Allen requested, on Beth’s behalf, that she not be required to state her married name—fearing that Shiue might try to find her and her family. The clerk swore her in simply as Beth Stauffer. While she moved to and from the witness stand and during the entire time she testified, she never glanced toward Shiue.
In her brief testimony, Beth told the court that she does not believe that Shiue feels any remorse for his heinous acts. And that although she still has flashbacks to the time of the captivity and the cruel acts Shiue perpetrated against her, she made it very clear to him that he did not ruin her life, nor her mother’s. He ruined his own life. After escaping from him, Mary and Beth went on to lead the life they had planned—one of devotion and ministry to the Baptist General Conference. She further told the court that if Shiue were released from prison, she would be in constant fear for her safety and that of her family.
Once Beth was excused, the first in a procession of psychologists took the stand to document the various ways in which they have determined, through interviews and psychological testing, that Ming Sen Shiue is mentally ill and sexually dangerous.
Court-appointed psychologist Amanda Powers-Sawyer was the first professional to testify. She stated that she had interviewed Shiue, reviewed the court transcripts documenting his crimes, and evaluated his prison record. She further stated that she had administered a number of psychological tests to Shiue, including the Hare Psychopathy Checklist—Revised (PCL-R)1, a test that is widely accepted as the most reliable and valid method for assessing psychopathy. It is a key instrument used in forensic psychology and psychiatry to predict recidivism, and to measure the likelihood of future violence. The PCL-R is used to assess risk and to aid in making sentencing decisions.
Powers-Sawyer diagnosed Shiue with anti-social personality disorder and sexual sadism. She questioned the sincerity of his remorse because some of his answers seemed to be rehearsed. In addition, he had told her early in her evaluation that he did not need sex offender treatment, but would submit to treatment in order to prove he was not a risk. She acknowledged that declaration by Shiue is an indicator that he would likely go through the motions of sex offender treatment without genuinely participating. The key to successful treatment depends on the perpetrator acknowledging that they are sexually deviant and need help.
Shiue does not believe he is a sex offender, and stated that when he abducted Mrs. Stauffer, it was a schoolboy crush gone wrong.
Powers-Sawyer stated her conclusion that Shiue “is highly likely to engage in harmful sexual acts in the future.” She pointed out that considering even a minimal statistical probability of his reoffending would be similar to a weather forecaster indicating a 10% chance of rain—most people take little or no precaution in that instance; however, if a forecaster predicts a 10% chance of a hurricane, prudent people take extensive precautions. She told the court, “When considering the violence and reckless disregard for human life shown in the crimes committed by Mr. Shiue, I believe we have an obligation to take extreme precautions to protect the community from him.”
Next, Dr. Peter Marston, a forensic psychologist, testified on behalf of the defense that Shiue suffers from paraphilia and needs treatment for that disorder. However, he believes Shiue is at low risk for reoffending because of his reportedly reduced level of sexual interest, as well as health problems, such as arthritis which causes him difficulty in walking. Shiue apparently told Dr. Marston that he feels no sexual arousal for his victim and stated that he does not, in fact, experience any sexual arousal whatsoever. In spite of Shiue’s assertions, Dr. Marston stated that Shiue should not be paroled until he has successfully completed sex offender treatment. Not even the defense psychologist Dr. Marston recommended that Shiue be freed when he is eligible for parole in July 2010.
The trial was originally scheduled to take three days, but stretched into eight and included testimony from Karen Godin, Federal Probation Officer for Minnesota, who works in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. Since Shiue was sentenced before 1986, he falls under previously set parole standards and, therefore, can request parole as early as July 2010. Godin indicated that she received a prerelease plan for Ming Shiue in January 2010, and she usually receives those plans approximately six months before the possible parole date. The fact that a prerelease plan was submitted is an indicator that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons could consider Shiue’s request for parole as early as July 2010.
Godin testified that Shiue suggested in his prerelease plan that he be released to the supervision of his eighty-three-year-old mother Mei Shiue Dickerman, who currently resides in an assisted living facility. He proposed that he and his mother rent an apartment together and that he would support himself by applying for federal grants to research a mathematical theorem he has developed (perhaps the same theorem he showed Mary Stauffer when he was her ninth grade algebra student).
Thirty-years ago, Dr. Robert Sadoff, in evaluating Shiue, diagnosed him as having narcissistic personality disorder and stated that he suffers from grandiosity—these are traits that last a lifetime and are resistant to change.
In examining Shiue’s proposed release plan, it is evident that he remains narcissist and grandiose. It would seem narcissistic to expect that his mother should be moved from an assisted living facility where she receives the physical help she needs each day to remain safe and healthy to live in an apartment with Shiue in order to fulfill the supervisory role that would be required in his parole regulations. Shiue’s grandiosity seems evident in his suggestion that the federal government would provide grant money for him to perform mathematical research. Prisoners who seek release after spending a lifetime in prison usually recognize that their employment options are limited and offer modest and practical employment goals in their prerelease plan. Often their job search strategy includes applying for entry level or day labor jobs doing construction or performing data entry work.
Godin stated that the prerelease plan Shiue submitted was rejected because it was unrealistic and noted the apartment complex Mr. Shiue proposed to live in would not accept a sex offender as a tenant.
Next, Paul Reitman, PhD, testified that he had been hired by the state in 2008 to determine if Shiue met the criteria to be petitioned for commitment as a sexually dangerous person and as a sexual psychopathic personality highly likely to reoffend. Reitman concurred with defense psychologist Marston’s diagnosis that Shiue suffers from a mental condition known as paraphilia—a complex psychiatric disorder manifested as deviant sexual behavior or sexual attraction. The cause of paraphilia is poorly understood and treatment is rarely effective.
Dr. Reitman disagreed with Dr. Marston’s assertion that age is a significant factor in Shiue’s sexual arousal being diminished or non-existent. He testified, “Shiue is a violent sex offender, and violent sex offenders are not into sexuality, they are into violence and power. Considering that the commission of this crime involved the murder of a little boy indicates that Shiue is a homicidal person and he is a violent rapist, which is the most difficult sex offender to treat.” Dr. Reitman also diagnosed Shiue as suffering from delusional disorder—erotomanic type, a delusion that another person, usually of higher status (in this case, his former teacher) is in love with him.
In trial testimony from thirty-years-ago, psychiatrist Robert Sadoff reported that Shiue believed Mary and Beth were his family. His delusions were so fixed that when they escaped from captivity in his home, Shiue could not understand why they left him. In the 1980 trial, he called out to Mary in court, “Why did you leave me? Why that day? Why did you go?”
Dr. Reitman further testified that after interviewing him in 2008, Shiue wrote him a letter attempting to manipulate the doctor into feeling guilty, suggesting that if he recommended that the state proceed with a civil commitment petition, Reitman would then be responsible for Shiue never getting out of prison. Dr. Reitman testified that Shiue postured himself as a victim, saying he was discriminated against in sentencing because he is Asian. Shiue repeatedly stated, “I’ve served my time. I’m sorry I killed that little boy, but I’ve served my time for that.” Shiue also reportedly told Dr. Reitman, “I never should have killed that little boy. He probably wouldn’t have been able to identify me anyway.” That statement would indicate that he is not remorseful for taking the life of a small boy, but simply that he wouldn’t have needed to kill him because he would not have been a means to apprehend Shiue. This is indicative of an anti-social personality disorder—a callous disregard for his victim Jason Wilkman and Jason’s family.
Mei Shiue Dickerman was interviewed as part of the evaluation and, according to Dr. Reitman, reinforced Ming Sen Shiue’s faulty thinking. Referring to Beth Stauffer, who was eight-years-old at the time of the kidnapping, Shiue’s mother stated, “He was good to that little girl.” By that, Dr. Reitman believed Ms. Dickerman meant that her son had not raped Beth, and concluded, “I did not feel she had any grasp of what her son had done and I believe that if he were released to her custody, she would reinforce Shiue’s sense of victimization. She too felt that his sentencing was racially motivated.”
Addressing the defense counsel’s assertion that a person’s age makes him less likely to engage in sexually offensive behaviors, Dr. Reitman stated that while age can decrease risks, it does not necessarily determine a person’s likelihood to reoffend. He cited a 2004 Minnesota case in which Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., a convicted sex offender was released from prison at age fifty-five, later kidnapped, raped and murdered twenty-two-year-old Dru Sjodin, a student at the University of North Dakota, dumping her body near Crookston, Minnesota.
Dr. Reitman concluded, “Shiue is extremely dangerous. He exhibits utter lack of power to control his sexual impulses. His refusal of treatment opportunities, lack of a relapse prevention plan, the violence he demonstrated towards his victims, and his belief that no problem exists, is proof to me that he requires sex offender treatment in a secure facility.”
When Shiue’s court-appointed attorney Rick Mattox was given the opportunity to speak in defense of his client, the main point he made to the court was that Shiue was sorry for his actions and willing to seek treatment while in prison. In addition, Mattox emphasized that age and other factors reduce Shiue’s likelihood of reoffending.
When the trial testimony concluded, Judge Walker Jasper ordered the prosecution and defense to file their closing briefs by July 1, 2010. She would then have ninety days to rule on the state’s petition to commit Shiue to a secure treatment facility indefinitely as a sexual predator. In order to do that, the state must have proven that he is dangerous and likely to reoffend.
If Judge Walker Jasper rules that Shiue is a sexual psychopath, he would either be sent to the Moose Lake Security Hospital Sex Offender Program, most likely for the remainder of his life, or in the alternative, be returned to a federal prison for sex offender treatment. In the latter case, he would have to satisfactorily complete treatment, as judged by a group of psychologists and psychiatrists.
The key phrase is “satisfactorily completes sex offender treatment.” Sex offender treatment is not a prescribed set of classroom hours that one must fulfill in order to move on to transitional treatment, but rather a very long-term, individualized, evaluative process. A process in which the perpetrator must demonstrate a genuine understanding of his diagnosis as a sexually deviant person, truly recognize how he has harmed his victims and feel authentic remorse for his actions. It is unlikely that Ming Shiue will ever reach that level of self-introspection, therefore unlikely he will ever be released. At a minimum, it would be five or six years before Shiue would even be considered for parole. If Shiue were ever paroled, he would then be subject to intensive supervised release by both the Federal Probation Office for Minnesota and the Anoka County Community Corrections (Probation) Office.
Speaking with reporters outside the courthouse during the commitment hearings in April, Mary Stauffer and Beth shared with reporters the threat Shiue made to them while he had them still in captivity. Shiue told them, “Don’t think if I get caught and go to prison for even thirty years that I’m going to forget about you. When I get out, I’ll go after you and if you’re dead, I’ll go after your children.”
The Final Chapter
2010 Civil Commitment Trial
In September 2010 Judge Jennifer Walker Jasper ruled that Ming Sen Shiue is a sexual psychopath and a sexually dangerous person.
She declared that Ming Shiue met criteria for civil commitment and decreed that when or IF he is ever paroled from the United States Federal Correctional System, Federal Marshalls will be ordered to transport him, under guard, to the Maximum Security Hospital for Sexual Psychopathic Treatment Center in Moose Lake, Minnesota where he will remain indefinitely.
This is the final episode in the life of Ming Sen Shiue.
People ask me all the time, how do I think the judge will rule on the issue of civil commitment for Ming Sen Shiue. I don't know. I tell them I'm confident that Ming Shiue's security confinement will continue for years. I don't think he will ever be a threat to the Stauffers or anyone else in the community. I believe that prudent minds will view the granting of freedom to Shiue in the same way they would view a 10% chance of a hurricane—they will take precautions—extreme precautions.
Meeting Mary In Person
For me, the most personally rewarding experience occurred on the second day of the commitment hearings in April 2010. Standing outside the courtroom, Mary Stauffer approached me with a smile on her face and said, "You look like the author Eileen Biernat." I replied, "And you are Mary Stauffer." With that she took my hand and said, "I read your book and it gave me a perspective I never had. Of course, the community would have been afraid that a pedophile was on the loose when the crime happened; after all, two young children were kidnapped. That hadn't occurred to me. I also found out about investigative techniques that were used to try to find us, and also learned about behind-the-scenes court maneuvers made on my behalf."
Having Mary Stauffer acknowledge my work was important to me and I felt it validated my intentions in writing the book to honor her and Beth, their faith in God, and their strength to endure unimaginable cruelty.
To meet Mary Stauffer, in person, is to fully understand how strength and refinement coalesce to create true beauty. She had the power to overcome adversity while maintaining sensitivity to the feelings of others and the authenticity and grace to remain welcoming to everyone who enters her life.
My Hopes For Mary and Her Family
Mary, I hope that by sharing your story, as you have done so many times yourself, that I've helped you spread your message of faith. When Judge Jenny Walker Jasper issues her ruling, I will write the final chapter in Ming Sen Shiue's life and post it on my website, www.stalkingmary.com
—Eileen Bridgeman Biernat
1 Darkstone Research Group, Ltd., (R. D. Hare, President)