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Pedophile To Be Released From MN Sex Offender Program

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Within the next two weeks, a civilly-committed sex offender will be released for the first time from the state hospital in St. Peter — and people are outraged.

Clarence Opheim has been considered a sexual psychopath for nearly 18 years.

Within 15 days, he will be provisionally released to a halfway house.

Lucinda Jesson, the state Department of Human Services Commissioner, said if Opheim does anything wrong, he’ll go back into the treatment program.

That, however, doesn’t sit well with Republican lawmakers.

“We think it’s premature when we look at the report by the department just from last May, when it says the risk for Mr. Opheim’s re-offense is high,” said House Majority Leader, Matt Dean.

The Department of Human Services denied Opheim a provisional discharge May.

Opheim admits to more than 100 criminal sexual acts. He was able to commit them by gaining the trust of 29 victims by offering them pop and candy, according to documents WCCO-TV received Monday.

The documents show he paid one victim to keep quiet.

Opheim was involved in a fight where his brother got stabbed. All of his 29 victims were neighborhood children or children of women he befriended in bars.

“We were just really questioning what really happened between then and now that this should be the first person to be released,” Dean said.

WCCO’s Susie Jones Interviews Dennis Benson, The Director of The Minnesota Sex Offender Program

One factor came from a new report by Dr. James Alsdurf, a court appointed evaluator in this case.

“You simply don’t go into court with some kind of shallow suggestion,” Alsdurf said. “I have my reputation on the line and so does everyone else.”

Based on his findings, a panel of three judges issued the written order for Opheim’s release.

“I’m not going to make a recommendation to the court in which I’m not absolutely convinced that the data is solid and consistent with the law, that’s it,” Alsdurf said.

The Department of Human Services says state law allows civilly-committed sex offenders to become eligible for release once they have completed treatment.

In a letter to Republican leaders Monday Gov. Mark Dayton defended the actions of the Human Services Department.

However, Republican lawmakers will hold hearings at the Capitol about the release later this week.

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