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Inside the Mind of A Level 3 Sex Offender Part 1

Posted at: 11/19/2012 5:46 PM
By: Laura Lee

 (ABC 6 News) -- They live among us.

"You don't know what they look like," says Bill Donnay with the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC).

But we do know within the last couple of months, there have been an increase in Level 3 Sex Offender activity. 

"There are more Level 3 sex offenders that we are seeing recently," says Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem.

"Whether or not you have a Level 3 in your neighborhood, I can pretty well assure you there is someone in your neighborhood that is dealing with sexual attractions that is illegal," says Donnay.

Donnay is the Director of the Risk Assessment and Community Notification unit with the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Every criminal sex offender case is processed through his office.

"Once an offender is sentenced to us, it is our job to do everything we can to reduce his likelihood of re-offending and increase the public safety," says Donnay.

According to the DOC, there are 17 Level 3 sex offenders living within Freeborn, Steele, Mower and Olmsted Counties. In Olmsted County alone, there are 10 Level 3 sex offenders.  

"Rochester, is pretty large metro area so it would have a larger number than many areas," says Donnay.

"The nature of these folks is they are high risk to re-offend, theres always a risk," says Ostrem. 

So then one would wonder, if they are most likely to re-offend, why are they released back into the community?

"Because they have completed their sentence," says Ostrem.

What Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem is talking about is the states Determinate Sentencing System -- meaning when someone is convicted of a crime, they are sent to prison for a specific amount of time.

For instance, lets say the person was sentenced to 12 years, under state guidelines they have to serve two-thirds of that sentence, or in this case 8 years behind bars. If they showed good behavior, the remaining one-third of their sentence, 4 years, would be served under supervised release.

"It's determinate, whatever the judge says and when the last day of that period comes they are released from the Department of Corrections there's no choice to keep them, they have to be released," says Ostrem.

Contrary to what people may think, state data shows the number of sex offenders who re-offend is actually dropping.

"Sex offender recidivism has declined dramatically since 1990," says Donnay.

According to the DOC, in 1990, the recidivism rate for Level 3 sex offenders was 20 percent. In 2002, the recidivism rate dropped to 4 percent and in 2008, 3.3 percent.

"We looked at the cases in Rochester and there hasn't been an increase number of Level 3 sex offenders in Rochester, there has been an increase in level three meetings, but what they are is duplicate meetings, in other words an offender living in Rochester who was under the supervision program returns to prison for a technical violation and when he comes back, there may be another notification meeting," explains Donnay.

Then there are cases like Brian Broulik.

"He might be the poster child for why we need to continue the committment process," says Ostrem.

Broulik is currently facing charges in Olmsted, Dodge, Mower and Steele Counties all related to criminal sexual conduct with minors including one case in which he's accused of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old.

"Broulik was not under our supervision anymore," says Donnay, "if they choose to re-offend, then its out of our control entirely." 

Because Broulik was no longer under the supervision of the DOC, these new charges are all new offenses.

"We can't throw anyone to prison for the rest of their lives, but I wish we could put life time supervision, active supervision on some offenders for the rest of their lives," says Ostrem.

"We're never going to be perfect in the entire process and as much as we try to supervise, you can't in any sense create a generic solution for these, they're very specific cases."