ST. PAUL, Minn. -- 698 is the number of people who are serving indeterminateterms in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.
Indeterminate means exactly what you think.
"We have been avoiding as a state dealing with this situation for the last decade," Governor Mark Dayton said of the issue concerning civilly committed sex offenders within the state's Minnesota Sex Offender Program.
Only one man has been provisionally released from the program since its inception.
In 2012, 64-year-old Clarence Opheim was that man.
Opheim had 30 sexual abuse victims and he now lives in a halfway house under supervision.
The Department of Human Services is now recommending a second offender for provisional release, 57-year-old Thomas Ray Duvall.
Duvall's history is horrific.
In 1978, Duvall was convicted of raping a 17-year-old girl; Five months after his parole he tried to abduct a woman at knifepoint; three days after his release for that crime; he sexually assaulted two girls, ages 14 and 15 and was sent back to jail.
Twelve days after being released for that Duvall raped a 17-year-old girl in her home and court records say "Duvall threatened the victim with a knife...tied her up with an electrical cord...hit her with a hammer while raping her."
He did 20 years in prison for that and was civilly committed as a psychopathic personality in 1991.
Now Department of Human Services Commissioner, Lucinda Jesson and the Hennepin County Attorney stand in agreement that Duvall is ready to be granted a provisional discharge from the Minnesota StateSex Offender Program in St. Peter.
Governor Mark Dayton says he supports Commissioner Jesson's decision; but is aware of a challenge being brought by Attorney General Lori Swanson.
Swanson has filed a motion with the Supreme Court Review Panel asking that they hear evidence she says she has that will show Duvall should not be granted release.
"I think there should be the utmost review. It ought to be a lengthy procedure and the fact that the Attorney General disagrees I think is a healthy sign," Governor Dayton said.
Swanson's issues are laid out in black and white in her 15-page memorandum in support of her motion.
She says Duvall's last petition for provisional discharge was considered, just last year and denied.
She says at the time a court appointed examiner found Duvall "does not seem to understand the degree of his rage and primitive impulses toward his victims."
Also, Swanson details, Duvall told a counselor he had up to 100 victims, beginning with his first rape when he was 15-years-old.
That contradicts, Swanson claims, what the DHS special review board said, that Duvall had 60 victims.
The DHS Special Review Board is the authority recommending Duvall's release that is the recommendation Commissioner Jesson and the Hennepin County Attorney agree with.
The Governor says he is aware of all of this but that there is an issue of fairness.
Duvall has completed his prison term. He had completed the therapy the state mandated of him, Governor Dayton pointed out.
"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," Governor Dayton said.
That pressure to release civilly committed sex offenders is real.
A federal court has ruled DHS must come up with a plan to stop these indeterminate terms.
"The federal courts are saying that you have to deal with this or we will rule it unconstitutional and the courts will run the program rather than the state of Minnesota," Governor Dayton said.
But is Duvall, the right man to be given that provisional discharge?
"This is the second time it has been attempted and believe me we will do everything humanly possible to make sure that this individual is not a threat to society," Governor Dayton said.
On Friday, November 8th, the Judicial Appeal Panel will hear the arguments the Attorney General put forth in her motion to have an evidentiary hearing on this matter.
Duvall will be present for that hearing.