RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

A convicted sex offender with a lengthy record of felony activity that Riverside County authorities believe makes him an ongoing danger to the public was committed to a state hospital today for psychiatric treatment that could last a lifetime.
      JohnJohn Edward McMahan Edward McMahan, 54, of Indian Wells was deemed a "sexually violent predator" under the California Welfare and Institutions Code following a trial last month.
      State law says an individual can be held for mental health treatment
until he or she is deemed fit to re-enter society. Superior Court Judge Jean
Leonard today ordered that McMahan be held for an "indeterminate" period of
time at Coalinga State Hospital.
      "It's a question of whether they really can be rehabilitated," Deputy
District Attorney Alberto Ricalde, who handled the case, told City News
Service.
      "They have to undergo a sexual offender treatment program that goes
about five years. You have to admit you're a predator and go to regular
classes, all sorts of things. Once you've completed it successfully, they say
you're ready to leave. But few people ever get that far."
      McMahan was convicted of raping a woman in Missouri in 1980, a crime for
which he served seven years in prison. He relocated to California, staying
with his mother in the Coachella Valley, where he attempted to sexually assault
a woman in a pool at a resort in 1989, according to Ricalde.
      McMahan was sentenced to several years in prison for that offense.
Within weeks of his incarceration, the defendant attempted to rape a female
correctional officer, leading to more time being added to his sentence, the
prosecutor said.
      He said after McMahan's release from prison in 2003, the ex-con
committed a slew of parole violations, including snapping off his GPS tracking
device so law enforcement couldn't monitor his whereabouts and failing to
register as a sex offender as required by state law.
      He was eventually sent back to prison for nearly three years.  
      Upon his most recent parole, the District Attorney's Office decided to
attempt to have him committed under Welfare and Institutions Code 6600, which
permits institutionalizing individuals with sexually violent tendencies, as
long as there's proof they pose a threat.
      Ricaldi said one of the episodes that stands out for him was the attack
on the correctional officer.
      "It really demonstrates the level of abnormal functioning," the
prosecutor told CNS. "He had a number of reasons for why he said he did it.
One of them was: wearing a skirt makes you a prostitute."