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Level 3 sex offender to move to DL

Another Level 3 sex offender is moving to Detroit Lakes.

Michael Jerome Buckanaga Jr., 26, will move into a halfway house on the 300 block of Summit Avenue on Nov. 12.

At age 20, he was sentenced in Becker County District Court on two serous felony charges — third-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree criminal sexual conduct using force or coercion.

Michael Jerome Buckanaga Jr.

He had been found guilty by a jury May 10, 2007, and was sentenced by District Judge Mark Hansen to 117 months in prison, where he was ordered to participate in anger management and sexual offender’s treatment.

The charges stemmed from a sexual assault that occurred Dec. 14, 2006, in Detroit Lakes.

According to court records, the incident occurred about 7:45 p.m. at the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center.

Buckanaga approached a 14-year-old girl who had been talking to her boyfriend on her cell phone, and asked if he could use her phone.

She let him use it, and he returned later and asked if he could use it again. This time he kept it and went into the family locker room area. The girl followed, trying to get her phone back, and he went into a private shower area, pulled her in, and shut the door. When she rejected his sexual advances and struggled to get away, he ended up forcibly raping her.

He did not know the girl prior to the incident.

Buckanaga appealed his conviction on the grounds that the judge allowed the girl to testify in closed court, and that he had allowed prosecution witnesses to testify about the impact to the victim prior to the girl testifying herself.

The appeals court upheld the conviction, ruling that the judge had made some mistakes, but none that rose to the extreme of requiring a new trial.

A Level 3 sex offender is considered most likely to reoffend by the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Buckanaga Jr. is not wanted by the police at this time and has served the sentence imposed on him by the court.

“The Detroit Lakes Police Department would like to remind everyone that convicted predatory and sexual offenders have always been released to live in the community,” after serving their sentence, Sgt. Chad Glander said in a news release.

“This notification is not intended to increase fear in the community,” he added. “Law enforcement believes that an informed public is a safer public.”

More information on predatory offenders can be found at the Minnesota department of Corrections website: