For more information contact: Jim Greve 651-296-4338
ST. PAUL – Emergency legislation passed the House today that would authorize community notification prior to a sex offender’s provisional release from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) to a halfway house.
Representative Kathy Lohmer (R-Lake Elmo) authored House File 2394 in response to a loophole that prevents local law enforcement from conducting community notification in these instances. Legislators were recently made aware of the loophole during a hearing regarding the release of Clarence Opheim, who has been civilly committed in the MSOP for the last two decades. Opheim is responsible for approximately 100 sexual assaults against 29 young boys. He is expected to enter a halfway house in the Twin Cities within the next week.
“Communities should be informed when a convicted sex offender moves into their neighborhood,” Representative Kathy Lohmer said. “Instead of rumor and uncertainty, community notification will provide factual public safety information regarding the discharge and supervision of sex offenders from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.”
Community notification of sex offenders’ residences has been in effect since 1997; however, current law does not apply for civilly committed sex offenders who are released from the MSOP to halfway houses.
Governor Mark Dayton has stated that he will support this legislation. Senator Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) carries a companion in the Senate.
Representative Lohmer encourages constituents to contact her with concerns on any issue of state or local concern. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.296.9471. Mail should be sent to Rep. Kathy Lohmer, 521 State Office Building, 100 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.
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