MN Considers More Freedom for Sex Offenders - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

MN Considers More Freedom for Sex Offenders

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  Now, a follow up to a story we brought you yesterday, regarding the release of a sex offender in the northern valley.

  Level 3 sex offender Dean Johnson has been released from prison and is trying to find a place to live in Crookston.

  We have reaction to his release from a surviving victim of an attack by another convicted sex offender and murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Junior.

  Back in 1974, Shirley Iverson survived a sexual attack by Alfonso Rodriguez Junior. The man later released from prison and convicted of murdering UND student, Dru Sjodin in 2003.

 Shirley Iverson, Crookston: "In a community of mostly naive people, we're not thinking in that same way. We're not thinking that's there's always a predator watching to see when the most weakest of us, the most challenged of us could be attacked.

  But, while many people, especially the victims of sex offenders would like to lock them up and throw away the keys… a federal judge has ordered that Minnesota sex offender laws have to be changed by May.

Shirley Iverson: "Unfortunately you know, they have civil rights and I'm pretty understanding of that. I think that we need to enhance our understanding of what makes a predatory sex offender."

  Current law allows the civil commitment of sex offenders to prison like treatment centers at St. Peter and Moose Lake, after they've already completed their prison sentences.

  The federal mandate would require "less prison like" treatment centers all over Minnesota. For instance, level 3 sex offender Dean Johnson who's now trying to find a place to live in Crookston, would be supervised at a local treatment center, while integrating back into the community.

Shirley Iverson: "These bills in particular if they're treatment centers, and if they have a restrictive case management system and evaluation and constant monitoring of the behaviors of the offenders… will probably work out pretty well."

    This week, following the federal mandate, the State Senate is working on a bill that would give sex offenders more freedom by building more treatment centers across Minnesota.  Details of changes to Minnesota sex offender laws and construction of treatment centers are still sketchy, as the bill makes its way through committees.

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