Residents Express Concern Over Sex Offender’s Release

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — A predatory offender is moving to the area — that’s the headline that motivated more than 200 Golden Valley residents to show up Monday night to voice their concerns at a community meeting.

Convicted pedophile Clarence Opheim is expected to be transferred to a halfway house in Golden Valley next week. Opheim has been civilly committed for nearly 20 years after serving a sentence for predatory acts.The 64-year-old admitted to molesting 29 children, many of them young boys.

He’s the first patient from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program to be released to a halfway house.

The meeting lasted for more than two hours at the Perpich Center for the Arts. Not only was the auditorium full, there was an even an overflow room full of concerned community members.

Several of the questions centered on what would happen once Opheim moves in.

Golden Valley Police made it clear that Opheim is on a provisional discharge from the state hospital, which means he could be picked up for violating any of 32 different conditions.

Still, neighbors question if that’s enough to stop him from re-offending.

Here’s a moment from the meeting.

How many of you have had conversations with friends about what you would do to somebody if you found out he touched your kid?, one resident asked.

Many in the audience raised their hands.

The resident stated: I turn to the city councilmen and say: think twice before you allow another half way house. Thank you.

Applause followed.

Some residents asked about the specifics of Opheim’s surveillance. Another asked if it was possible to stop his transfer to Golden Valley altogether.

The halfway house Opheim will live is near the intersection of Highway 55 and Zane Avenue. He will have to wear a GPS ankle bracelet and be subject to random drug and alcohol checks.

Hennepin County Attorney George Widseth described the oversight over Opheim as a perpetual microscope.

A panel– made up of the county attorney, the Department of Human Services, the Golden Valley Police Department and others organizations– says while it can’t prohibit released offenders from residing in Golden Valley, the conditions for his release ensure the community will stay safe.

“We’d like to stand with you,” a the panel said. “We’d like to be a resource for you. We believe the approach that we’ve created for this is a way to provide more security for the community, not less.”

Opheim was originally set to be released without community notification. Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill changing that.
As for what parents in Golden Valley should do, psychologists encourage parents to use the as an opportunity to have an open discussion about safety.

More information regarding Opheim’s release is available at the Golden Valley Police Department’s website.

  • Flash! AHH Ahhhhh!

    The way to change the laws is to petition your representatives. Has anyone done this? Has anyone organized to do this? Or are you just morons who react when the problem is right on your door step, and then slip back into tv watching when the problem is further away? Don’t answer that.

  • george walker

    And there isnt a damn thing you are going to do about it. Take a look and see how many of these pieces of chit live around the judges.

  • Eric

    The guy served the amount of time that he was sentenced to so why should he still have to remain in prison or the state hospital. This guy will never be 100% free without monitoring in his life so he is a very low risk to offend again. Like Ines Beag said I would be more worried about the sex offenders still out there no one knows about.

    • jackactionhero

      False. He has the highest probability of re-offending. Did you not read the previous articles?

    • Packing the pork

      I fret both the non-caught and him…more the perps walking around outside yet to be caught by a mile to be honest.
      I imagine someone has to have a gun handy and available in area so if it comes down to …..

  • hunnybear18

    Ah yes. The “he paid his debt to society argument”. In my opinion whoever is determining this can’t do simple math. It seems it should be the amount of years one of his victims was affected by his selfish act, multiplied by the 29 victims he was convicted for. Until then, most can agree his debt has not been paid.

    Also, one does not become a Level III by cooperating with treatment and showing that he won’t offend again. He is classified this way because he does have a high likelihood of reoffending again.

    • Shana Rowan

      Way to pick apart the Constitution to make it fit your needs.

      Our justice system determined his debt to society. He finished it. End of story. That’s the way our country works. While his crimes are undeniably heinous – what does keeping him in jail forever do for his victims? It doesn’t undo his actions or help them heal. It only satisfies the need for revenge. Nothing more.

      Levels are assigned based on the initial crime committed, nothing to do with treatment completed or anything else. Saying a level 3 is a “high likelihood of re-offending” is misleading, because sex offenders already have the lowest re-offense rates of most other crimes (don’t believe me, look it up).

      • hunnybear18

        I did. Apparently you didn’t. Here is the statute.

        Notice beginning in Section (g) where the guidelines for determining level are. Lo and behold, compliance with treatment is one of them.

        Also, offenders are graded I to III based on likelihood of reoffense. You apparently haven’t done your homework regarding reoffense rates either. Ever notice that nearly every time a child is sexually assaulted and murdered it is by somebody who has already been convicted of a similar crime?

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