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Sex Offenders

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How Do Our Neighboring States Handle Sex Offenders?

For more than two decades, Minnesota’s most dangerous sex offenders have been locked up a second time after serving prison sentences. They’ve been committed to indefinite detention in treatment programs.

Now, more than 700 sex offenders are suing the state saying that’s unconstitutional.

So we wondered: How do our neighboring states handle sex offenders? Do they get out? And what happens when they do?

02/26/2015

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Experts Testify In MN Sex Offender Program Trial

A federal judge is closer to deciding if it’s constitutional to keep Minnesota sex offenders in custody indefinitely. Only three offenders have been released from treatment.

02/18/2015

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Suit Against Minn. Sex Offender Program Enters 2nd Week

A federal judge has rejected a motion to strike testimony from four court-appointed experts who’ve said at least some of the more than 700 people civilly committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program should be released.

02/17/2015

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Constitutional Test For Minnesota Sex Offender Program

Minnesota’s civil commitment program for sex offenders has been under fire for years by people who say it’s unconstitutional because it amounts to a life sentence. A federal judge has pressured state lawmakers to change the program to address concerns, but they have not.

02/08/2015

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Dayton Proposes Extra Cash For State Sex Offender Program

An additional $7.2 million in state funds may help make changes to Minnesota’s controversial treatment program for sex offenders.

01/28/2015

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Lawmakers Pressured To Alter Sex Offender Commitment Law

Minnesota lawmakers who have long put off large-scale changes to the state’s treatment program for sex offenders are under even more pressure to act this session, as a federal judge could soon rule on whether the program is constitutional.

12/27/2014

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Recommendations Issued For Sex Offender Program

Experts reviewing Minnesota’s civil commitment program for sex offenders are recommending that staff begin creating plans to discharge clients when they are first admitted to the program, and that residents be periodically evaluated to ensure they meet criteria for confinement. The recommendations are among dozens issued Tuesday by experts who have spent months evaluating residents, treatment standards and polices at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.

11/18/2014

An age-progression picture was released a few years ago of Jacob Wetterling showing what he would look like at age 29. (credit: CBS)

After 25 Years, Jacob Wetterling’s Mother Continues Searching For Answers, Jacob

Earlier this month authorities launched a new campaign to try and find out what happened to Jacob Wetterling. Wetterling was abducted while riding bikes with his brother and friend 25 years ago Wednesday. And while his disappearance remains a mystery, his case has led to changes that now help other missing children.

10/22/2014

(credit: Cook County Sheriff's Office)

Fmr. Cook Co. Att’y Gets 30 Days For Criminal Sexual Conduct

A former county attorney from northern Minnesota has been sentenced for criminal sexual conduct. Former Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell will serve 30 days in jail and will have 10 years of probation. He is also required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

09/26/2014

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February Trial Set For Sex Offenders Lawsuit

A Feb. 9 trial date has been set for a constitutional challenge to Minnesota’s sex offenders treatment program. U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank set the date Thursday during a hearing in St. Paul on the case.

08/21/2014

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Experts Seek More Time To Issue Sex Offender Program Report

Four experts appointed to evaluate a Minnesota program that confines some sex offenders to high-security facilities even after they have served prison sentences said they need more time to complete their work.

08/18/2014

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St. Paul Federal Judge To Rule On MN Sex Offender Case

A case about the constitutionality of the Minnesota’s sex offender treatment program is heading to federal court. Attorney Dan Gustafson is representing 24-year-old Eric Terhaar. Both Terhaar and 48-year-old Rhonda Bailey are both trying to get released from the program.

07/18/2014

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State: Experts’ Look At Sex Offenders Is Skewed

An attorney for officials who run Minnesota’s sex offender treatment program says the way experts are evaluating the program makes it impossible for them to issue a report favorable to the state.

07/15/2014

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Experts: There May Be More Misplaced Sex Offenders

Experts appointed to evaluate the Minnesota Sex Offender Program testified Monday that they found several people similar to a man whom that they say should be immediately freed without restrictions — and they plan to issue findings on those people by the end of the summer.

07/14/2014

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Zellers Says Gov. Dayton Mismanaged Sex Offender Program

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.

06/18/2014

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Supreme Court Reverses Sex Offender’s Commitment

The Minnesota Supreme Court has taken the unusual step of reversing the commitment of a man to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program and sent the case back to a lower court for further proceedings. The high court reaffirmed Wednesday that courts must find sex offenders “highly likely” to reoffend before civilly committing them to the secure treatment program, which is the subject of a constitutional challenge in federal court and debate at the Legislature.

04/23/2014

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Inmates Seek Release Amid Sex Offender Program Controversy

In Minnesota, there are 700 sex offenders kept away in indefinite treatment, more than in any other state. A federal judge warned that some of those men need to be let go because parts of the program are unconstitutional.

03/17/2014

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Minn. DHS Sets Aside $1.8M For Sex Offender Review

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has budgeted $1.8 million for the possible costs of a court-ordered evaluation of the state sex-offender program.

03/17/2014

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As Sex Offender Program Marches On, Rising Costs

Minnesota lawmakers are getting nowhere over how to resolve constitutional questions about the state’s sex offender treatment program, but the same can’t be said about the program’s costs. They’re going somewhere — up. About 50 new patients enter the program every year, a growth rate that threatens to swamp existing facilities in the next few years. A Senate committee on Thursday will review a request for $7.4 million this year to renovate and expand the St. Peter treatment center; another $30 million or more is on the drawing board for future growth there and in Moose Lake.

03/15/2014

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Fixes Soon To Minn. Sex-Offender Program Unlikely

Minnesota legislative leaders sniped at each other Friday for a lack of progress in fixing the state’s sex offender treatment program despite a federal judge’s urging for fast action to correct it. Lawmakers acknowledged that no talks on the subject have occurred in about a month.

03/14/2014

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Inside The Razor Wire, Part 4: Lawmakers & The MN Sex Offender Program

Minnesota lawmakers have a difficult job ahead. They must decide what to do about the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, now that a federal judge has ruled that it is broken and in need of repair.

03/06/2014

(credit: Grand Forks Police Department via Getty Images)

Inside The Razor Wire, Part 3: Dru Sjodin’s Legacy

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.

03/05/2014

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Inside The Razor Wire, Part 2: ‘They Call It Guantanamo North’

Michael, an offender who molested a 10-year-old girl in 1998, served time in prison before being let out on probation in 2004. Then after five years of treatment on the outside, he violated parole and lied about it. He was then civilly committed.

03/04/2014

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Inside The Razor Wire, Part 1: Tour Of MN Sex Offender Program

WCCO’s Susie Jones begins a series of reports on the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, taking us “Inside the Razor Wire.” We begin with an exclusive tour of the Moose Lake facility.

03/03/2014

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Talking Points: Legality Of MN’s Sex Offender Program

A ruling late last week says the legislature needs to act to fix a draconian system that Minnesota uses to lock up more than 700 sexually dangerous offenders.

02/23/2014

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