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Zellers Says Gov. Dayton Mismanaged Sex Offender Program

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A leading Republican candidate for governor is calling for an investigation into how important documents were destroyed in the case of a high-profile sex offender.

Thomas Duvall, 58, has a history of violent sexual crimes dating back to the 1970s.

As part of his treatment, the state required him to write journals of his sexual fantasies. Now, court records show he destroyed them, just as a court is deciding whether to let him go.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kurt Zellers is calling for an audit investigation.

“These people are a risk to the public,” Zellers said.

He claims Duvall’s case is proof that Dayton is mismanaging the sex offender program, even though there are no laws regulating journals written by sex offenders in treatment.

“Day one when I’m governor, we will start to review this process. Where are they? How are they assessed? Who is looking at them? What documents are you looking at?” he said. “That’s what any governor, any chief executive should have done [on] day one if they found this and thought it was a mess.”

Up to 700 dangerous offenders are confined in treatment centers at St. Peter and Moose Lake, and many have little chance of release.

Minnesota lawmakers approved funding this year for a top-to-bottom review of sex offender cases.

Gov. Mark Dayton’s office called Zellers’ comments “hyper political posturing,” and accused Zellers and Republicans of blocking sex offender reforms.

Minnesota’s Department of Human Services monitors sex offender treatment. A federal judge has warned the state to reform its treatment programs or face the risk of a court order releasing offenders.

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