Sex Offender’s Release Prompts Backlash, Defense

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — State lawmakers plan to hold a special meeting Monday to try to close a loophole in the sex offender notification law. Republican leaders are hoping to pass a bill allowing the public to be notified before Clarence Opheim is released from a state hospital in St. Peter sometime next week.

Opheim is a sex offender who molested 29 children in the 1970s and ’80s.

He served jail time years ago and has been under the care of the Department of Human Services, rather than the Department of Corrections, for 18 years.

The Department of Corrections is the agency that alerts the public when a sex offender is moving into their community. The Department of Human Services does not, at the moment.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to see if anything can be done,” said Rep. Matt Dean, the House Majority Leader.

At the Capitol, lawmakers could move at rare speed, passing a law that would alert the community where Opheim will make his new home.

“On notification, I think we can move immediately,” Dean said.

Lawmakers will also take a closer look at the Minnesota Sex Offender program and the treatment Opheim’s received to earn his provisional release.

“We certainly want to question this program,” Dean said. “We have a lot of scrutiny on this program.”

Some of that scrutiny will fall on Project Pathfinder, an organization that will oversee Opheim’s therapy.

Warren Maas, executive director of Project Pathfinder, said the organization is taking Opheim’s release and treatment very seriously.

To even meet the possibility of release, a patient has to undergo years of intense therapy.

“They have to convince us that they’ve made a change at the core of their psychology,” Maas said.

The therapy Opheim has to undergo is a routine that will continue on a weekly basis, likely for the rest of his life.

“We’re certainly not in the business of putting the community in any danger,” Maas said.

Releasing Opheim is a test of the idea that sex offenders can be rehabilitated. However, there is no way of knowing the outcome of such a test.

“If people are expecting us to fail, I’m pretty committed to showing them they’re wrong,” Maas said.

As for Opheim’s treatment, Maas could not give specifics. Opheim will move from the hospital in St. Peter to a halfway house. He will be monitored with a GPS tracking device and he’ll be under some form of surveillance.

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  • James

    Not good enough. Fetch me my pitch fork and torch. I hear the crowd assembling already…

  • AntiTeabagger

    Take him behind the shed and put one right behind his ear, problem solved.

  • Sad Day

    29 kids but he is rehabilitated…. Thats like locking me up and over the next 30 years attempting to get me to stop liking women. It won’t happen, This guy liked 29 kids. Lock your doors and keep a closer eye on your kids with this freak on the lose.

  • ColdDayInHall

    It’s the GOP way smaller State Gov.

    • banliberals

      Democrats like little girls and boys!!

    • hunnybear18

      Do your research and see who is opposing efforts to block his release.

  • Mark

    These people can NOT be fixed Period.
    If we and the children are lucky, he will be assasinated ASAP upon release.

  • donna

    Maybe Mr. Maas should let this sick SOB live next to him and his children!!

  • tan pup

    I’m just waiting for the apology from the department of corrections when their experiment goes WRONG and he kills his next victim because he didn’t want to get caught and go back to jail; and it WILL happen. These monsters know how to get around mindless shrinks like Maas. However, this is what happens when so many people demand lower taxes by cutting programs. Be careful what you demand from you lawmakers.

  • Larry

    “We’re certainly not in the business of putting the community in any danger” Mass says. Okay, then the best way to insure that Mr Mass is to KEEP HIM LOCKED-UP.!!!! This jerk/monster ruined 27 kids and if released he WILL so it again. these so-called ‘experts’ are too dumb to realize these sex-pev’s do NOT GET WELL!!!

  • GPS Tracking LandAirSea » Blog Archive » State Lawmakers to Block Release of Notorious Sex Offender

    […] Source: CBS Minnesota […]

  • James

    I think it’s fair to say that the first services Democrats cry about cutting in the event of budget discussions are Police and Fire. They play politics as leverage to secure funding for other special interest government waste and then cry foul when trash like this are set free to roam on the streets. Nevermind that this child sex offender was probably from the same group of criminals that the state of MN was providing 50″ flat screen TVs to during their stay at the Moose Lake Four Seasons Penitentiary not long ago. If it wasn’t for a sex offender calling out the waste, TPaw would have never known of the waste and lack of oversight of that facility. Is anyone surprised that the liberal left is pandering to the sex offenders?

    And DHS is managing this guy? Are you kidding me? If anyone has had experience with MN’s DHS department, you know what kind of an outfit that place is. If you ask me, there isn’t one competent person in the entire department. The first thing that ought to happen with this special legislation bill would be to completely disperse and dismantle the Department of Human Services completely and entirely. This is akin to letting your local girl scout troop change the oil in your John Deere 4020. It just doesn’t work.

    • Jedgar

      James….I’m wit ya!

  • felice

    So, if he’s not mentally ill anymore- then now is the time for him to start serving his prison sentence.

  • Suzi N.

    “So, if he’s not mentally ill anymore- then now is the time for him to start serving his prison sentence.”

    No kidding. He molested 29 children that they know about. He’s not cured, he’s just been restricted. In my opinion, a halfway house is half way to doing it again. A GPS would only be an ok idea if it was permanently welded to him and fitted in such a way as it could not be damaged by any means, or have the signal blocked, and an alarm on the unit that screams “CAUTION – DANGEROUS PEDOPHILE! RUN AWAY CHILDREN!” if he gets 2′ outside of the building. I say this, because if this is a typical ankle bracelet, all he has to do is remove it. It’s nauseating that anyone would believe it’s a good idea to release any serial pedophile, rapist or murderer. These people are dangerous animals. They should be euthanized. At the very least, non-murdering pedophiles should be castrated, and then kept under supervision for the rest of their lives, because there is no cure.

  • kim

    While I completely agree that Opheim should never be released (glad to pay tax dollars to keep him at a Security Hospital or in prison), he will be under a high level of surveillance. Sadly, the pedophiles that haven’t been caught yet are the ones to worry about.

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