Release of sex offender stirs controversy

By KBJR News 1

November 7, 2013 Updated Nov 7, 2013 at 11:56 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - In the history of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, only one man has been provisionally released from the program since its inception.

Now, the Department of Human Services is recommending the release of a second offender from the program in St. Peter, but this time the decision is coming under fire from the state's highest attorney.

According to Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, 57–year–old Thomas Ray Duvall is not suited for release because of his long history of sexual offenses, numerous second chances and subsequent re–offenses.

Records reveal, Duvall's criminal history goes back to 1978 when he was first convicted of raping a 17–year–old girl.

After multiple other serious sexual convictions and prison sentences, Duvall was civilly committed as a sexual predator in 1991.

Now, in response to a federal ruling to stop indeterminate admittance, the Department of Human Services is recommending Duvall's provisional discharge from the facility.

In her attempt to block that release, Attorney General Lori Swanson outlines her reasons in a 15 page document that indicates Duvall told a counselor he had up to 100 victims and that he does not meet criteria for release.

Governor Dayton says while he's aware of Swanson's position, the state must adhere to the Federal courts.

"These are not people we would want in our society in any normal circumstances but they are people who have, the courts say, a constitutional right to be released at some point in time," said Governor Mark Dayton.

Last year, 64-year-old Clarence Opheim was successfully released from program, he now lives in a halfway house under supervision.

Minnesota currently has 698 offenders who are civilly committed, with a majority housed at the state's Moose Lake facility.

A 3-judge panel will hear the attorney general's arguments on Friday as to why Duvall should stay where he is. Duvall is expected to be at the hearing.

Jeremy Brickley
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