The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

August 20, 2013

State recommends release of 2 sex offenders

MINNEAPOLIS — A special review board has recommended that two repeat sex offenders be released from Minnesota's most secure treatment program.

If a state Supreme Court appeals panel approves their release, they would be only the third and fourth men released from the program. The program is facing legal pressure to show it is not a lifetime sentence for hundreds of offenders who have completed prison terms.

Thomas Duvall, now 57, was convicted of raping a 17-year-old girl at knifepoint in 1987 just after completing a prison term for a separate rape conviction, records show. Kirk Fugelseth, 47, has admitted to molesting more than 30 boys and girls starting when he was 14.

A special review board of the Minnesota Department of Human Services recommended the men for release, the Star Tribune reported.

The department oversees Minnesota's sex offender treatment program in St. Peter and Moose Lake. Until last year, the two-decade-old program had released only one man, who returned on a technical violation. A second man was released in 2012.

DHS officials on Monday confirmed the board's recommendations for conditional release of the two men from the treatment program, but would not discuss the cases. DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson declined to comment through a spokeswoman to the newspaper. She is reviewing Duvall's case and has not decided whether she will oppose the board's recommendation for provisional discharge.

In a letter dated July 26, Jesson told the judicial appeals panel that she does not oppose releasing Fugelseth. In her letter, Jesson said the discharge plan contains 30 conditions, including ongoing sex offender outpatient treatment. Fugelseth will undergo continued supervision by the state program and face GPS monitoring, frequent visits and covert surveillance.

Both Duvall and Fugelseth have undergone years of treatment.

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