The Minnesota Sex Offender Program is “clearly broken” and in need of repair. That’s according to a federal judge who ruled this month on a class action lawsuit, brought against the state, by clients of the program.
WCCO’s Susie Jones takes us “Inside the Razor Wire” with a series of reports on the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The brutal murder of 22-year-old Dru Sjodin is one of the most notorious crimes in Minnesota history.
Alfonso Rodriguez was convicted of raping and murdering Sjodin after she left work on Nov. 22, 2003.
After the crime, the number of sex offenders committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program increased dramatically.
Sjodin’s mother Linda Walker talked about the federal judge’s recent ruling and the potential for sex offenders to be released.
There isn’t a day that goes by that Walker doesn’t think about her daughter and what happened that awful day.
“She’s always there in my mind,” Walker said.
Sjodin was leaving work at a mall in Grand Forks, N.D., when she was kidnapped, beaten, raped and murdered. Rodriguez was convicted of the crime.
“He was very brutal to her. We know he had her two-and-a-half to three hours,” Walker said.
Rodriguez dragged her to a ravine, Walker said, “put a bag over her head and slit her throat ear to ear.”
Walker does not have faith in a system that let Rodriguez out unchecked and untreated, but thinks reforming the Minnesota Sex Offender Program won’t work either.
“We are just playing Russian Roulette with our society to let them out again amongst us,” she said.
In the wake of the judge’s ruling, Walker says the voice of the victim has to be included in the solution. She doesn’t believe that most sex offenders can be cured, and knowing the depth of her own pain, she does not want anyone else to suffer as she and her family have.
“I try not to dwell on how she was taken, because going there makes it unbearably painful,” she said.
Minnesota lawmakers must now face the difficult task of fixing the program, with no one wanting to take responsibility for letting an offender out who might hurt someone like Sjodin’s family again.