A DeKalb County judge has ruled that a registered sex offender from DeKalb is a sexually violent person and should remain in custody.

DeKalb County Circuit Court Judge ordered 58-year-old Carmen Thomas Protano to remain in Illinois Department of Human Services custody for treatment, according to Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office.

“This offender preyed upon children who trusted him, and he should not be allowed to reenter society,” Madigan said.

Protano was convicted in 2011 of sexually abusing his niece, who was 6 years old at the time, while babysitting her on multiple occasions during the course of a year, according to the attorney general’s office. He was sentenced to four years in prison and two years of mandatory supervised release.

Protano had previously been convicted in 2008 in Florida of two counts of battery against his daughter when she was between 5 and 7 years old, according to the attorney general’s office. Since this conviction, he has admitted to sexual offenses against other children.

Under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, a judge can commit offenders to the custody of IDHS if they have been convicted of a sexually violent offense and suffer from a mental disorder, according to the attorney general’s office.

Prosecutors must also prove that the offender is likely to commit future acts of sexual violence if released from custody, according to the attorney general’s office. Once committed, offenders are re-evaluated on a regular basis to determine if they continue to meet these criteria.

Protano was returned to the IDHS Sexually Violent Person Treatment and Detention Facility in downstate Rushville, pending a dispositional hearing at a later date.