OSAGE – An Osage man with a penchant for stealing underwear who attacked a female cyclist on a Mitchell County trail in 2014 will remain committed for treatment, according to a ruling by the Iowa Court of Appeals.
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office moved to commit Dewayne Bethke, 53, under the state’s sexually violent predator statutes in 2017 after he was released from prison for the assault on the Harry Cook Nature Trail.
Bethke fought the committal action in court, and the Court of Appeals turned down his challenge in a ruling issued Wednesday.
“Bethke continues to suffer from a mental abnormality that causes him serious difficulty in controlling his behavior and predisposes him to commit sexually violent offenses,” Judge Amanda Potterfield wrote in the opinion for the three-judge panel.
During a hearing in district court on the issue, a clinical psychologist said she diagnosed Bethke with pedophilic disorder, fetish disorder and antisocial personality disorder.
She also noted that Bethke’s fetish regarding women’s underwear had led him to break the law repeatedly, breaking into homes and stealing the undergarments of women to whom he claimed an attraction. She concluded Bethke would likely continue to commit sexually violent crimes if not held in a secure facility.
A forensic psychologist for the defense agreed with the diagnosis but testified that Bethke didn’t have serious difficulty controlling his behavior.
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Court records show that in 1992, when Bethke was 22, he broke into a home and stole a photograph and underwear of a girl who lived there. He pleaded to a trespass charge.
In 2001, he pleaded guilty to molesting two girls who were about 10 years old, and he was placed on probation, which was later revoked.
Records claim he continually was caught stealing underwear from women, and in 2007 he was found with underwear from one of his 2001 victims. He was kicked out of a halfway house in 2008 for allegedly stealing another resident’s underwear, records state.
In 2014, he shoved a woman from her bicycle on the Harry Cook trail.
He later told a polygraph examiner he intended to rape the woman, but she screamed and alerted others. In later court hearings, he claimed they had accidentally run into each other.
He also broke into the home of one of his earlier molestation victims in 2014 and stole several pairs of underwear for sexual gratification purposes, records state.
Court records allege Bethke admitted to molesting an 11-year-old boy and two teen girls, crimes for which he was never charged.