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