Criminal Sexual Conduct Part 3: The Penalties and Community Notification Process in the Release of a Predatory Offender

Over the last few months, we have seen an influx of questions about the offenses, penalties and potential ramifications of being convicted of a sex crime in Minnesota.  We decided to conduct a three-part series to answer some of the most common questions surrounding criminal sexual conduct.  In Part 1, we explained what types of crimes require you to register as a sex offender in Minnesota, and in Part 2 we explained how to register as a Predatory Offender in Minnesota. Today we’ll be discussing “The Penalties and Community Notification Process in the Release of a Predatory Offender”.

As we alluded to in our previous post, a person is required to register as a predatory offender for 10 years from the time he or she initially registered in connection with the offense, or until probation, supervised release, or conditional release period expires, whichever occurs later.  That means that any person required to register with the state must do so annually for a minimum of 10 years.

It is very important that a predatory offender follows all the obligations of his or her parole, because there is very little lenience if they stop out of line.  If an offender fails to uphold their obligations, a parole officer can add an extra five years to the offender’s registration period for each violation.  Some ways an offender can receive an extended registration period include:

  • Failing to give proper notice about an upcoming move or new job.
  • Failing to update their current vehicle information if changes are made.
  • Failing to return their annual registration form within 10 days of receiving it.
  • Failing to notify a hospital or health care facility they a predatory offender prior to admission.

Community Notification

CC image Wikipedia.orgAccording to Minnesota Stat. 244.052, a predatory offender who was required to register as part of their conviction, except those individuals who committed delinquency adjudications, is subject to the community notification law.  The law was enacted to keep citizens and those who have had past, or may have future encounters with a predatory offender informed about the person’s previous criminal history.

Before a predatory offender is released, he or she is given a specific risk level; Level I, Level II, and Level III.  We’ll explain the level designation process in a moment, but for now we’ll discuss how the community notification process is impacted by the offender’s level.

Level I Offenders – When a Level I offender is released, the law enforcement agency will maintain updated information about the offender, and they will share this information with other law enforcement agencies.  They will also inform any victims or witnesses of the transgression about the offender’s impending release.

Level II Offenders – Authorities will follow the same protocol for a Level II offender, but it will also disclose information to agencies or groups the offender is likely to encounter.  Some of these institutions include schools, day care establishments, or any other organization or establishment that primarily serves individuals likely to be victimized if the person reoffended.  In addition, any individuals who fit the offender’s past pattern of abuse may also be informed about his or her release.

Level III Offenders – All parties who may be informed about a Level I or a Level II offender’s release must be informed of the upcoming release of a Level III offender.  If the police inform an establishment that requires or allows the offender to interact with children, the establishment must inform the parents of the children at the facility.  For example, if an offender picks his child up from daycare, the daycare must inform the parents of all the children who use the facility that a Level III offender may be seen on the premises.

Any members in the community whom the offender is likely to encounter must also be made aware of their release (stores in the area, mailman, neighbors, etc.)  Law enforcement officials typically hold a community meeting before a Level III offender moves into a local area.  The offender is not allowed to attend this meeting.

Designation of Offender Levels

Before a predatory offender is released, a committee convenes to assess a “risk level” the offender poses to the community.  In their determination of an offender’s risk level, the committee weighs several factors, including:

  • The seriousness of the original offense, and the seriousness of the offense should the individual reoffend;
  • The offender’s prior criminal history;
  • The offender’s characteristics, including their behavioral patterns prior and during treatment;
  • The availability of community support to the offender, including outreach programs and family members to help ensure the offender doesn’t become emotionally unstable;
  • Physical condition or age of the individual.  A strong 40-year-old may receive a higher classification than a frail 80-year-old, but this is not always the case.
  • Any other evidence that can establish an offender’s likelihood to reoffend.

As you probably figured out by looking at the community notification process, the higher the level designation, the more dangerous an offender may be to the community.  According to Minnesota statute 244.052, subd. 3, the three risk levels are assessed as follows:

  • Level I offenders are determined to have a low likelihood of re-offense.
  • Level II offenders exhibit a moderate risk of re-offense.
  • Level III offenders have a risk assessment valuation that indicates a high risk of re-offense.

Related source:  MN House of Representatives

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Avery Appelman is a criminal defense lawyer and the founder of Appelman Law Firm. While his practice is primarily recognized for its work with DWI and related offenses, he has 16 years of experience working with clients on drug, assault, theft, traffic, criminal sexual conduct, and prostitution charges.

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