Minn. A-G weighs in on sex offender's release

10:48 AM, Nov 9, 2013   |    comments
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WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. --  Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson says she is arguing that convicted violent sex offender Thomas Duvall, 58, be kept in state custody in the Minnesota Sex Offenders Program because he is public safety threat to all Minnesotans.

Duvall's petition for provisional discharge from the Minnesota Sex Offenders Program has been approved by the Department of Human Services so his next step would be a hearing by a 3-judge-panel to give the final say.

In a move not seen before, Swanson stepped in to say she wants to argue evidence she says proves Duvall should stay in custody in St. Peter.

In court documents, Swanson made her case saying Duvall, who was convicted more than 25 years ago after his third rape of a teenage girl, isn't ready.

In her filing, she points out Duvall was deemed not suitable for release 18 months ago by two separate psychological examiners.

Swanson also says that the Special Review Board, the group approving Duvall's release, included in its findings a risk assessment of Duvall from that period in 2012.

It said "Duvall is in the high risk category for being charged with or convicted of another sexual offense."

Hennepin County prosecuted for his crimes back in the early 70s and 80s. They too feel Duvall is ready to leave treatment at St. Peter.

George Widseth is an Assistant County Attorney with the Hennepin County Attorney's Office and takes issue to Swanson's stepping in.

"Well, Lori Swanson knows about 1/10th of 1 percent of this guy and of what the treatment team knows. They see him 24 hours a day 7 days a week and they have had him since 2001," Widseth said.

Widseth says bringing Duvall's criminal history and his own statements that he had at least 100 victims, isn't the issue.

He says the issue is Duvall's treatment team says he is ready, his past isn't on trial.

"The question is not did he commit horrible crimes. The question is has he been successfully treated," Widseth said.

The 3-judge-panel has set aside a week in April of 2014 to hear the evidence Attorney General Swanson says she has; however, they have not decided definitively if that hearing will happen.

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