Akeley residents were apprised of the background of a Level 3 Predatory Sex Offender who moved to the city in September, Joshua Joe Dexter, 30.
Mark Bliven of the Department of Corrections told the dozen citizens arriving for the informational session there are currently 250 Level 3 offenders living in Minnesota, 96 under supervision, 147 who have completed their period of supervision.
Dexter is no longer under supervision, Bliven explained. But he is currently serving time in jail for assault and, when released, is expected to be living on the 200 block of Marie Avenue (Highway 64) southeast.
Currently there are eight registered predatory offenders living in Akeley that are known to police, 62 total in Hubbard County. This compares with 47 in Wadena County, 116 in Becker, 36 in Clearwater, 115 in Cass and 163 in Beltrami County. The numbers, Bliven said, are reflective of the population.
"But most sexually abused children are abused by someone who is not on the sexual offender registry," Bliven said.
A recent study in Minnesota showed 10 percent of sexual offenses were committed by someone on the registry of 16,000 sexual predatory offenders; 90 percent of the offenders had no history of sexual offense.
"More than 90 percent of sexually abused kids are abused by someone they know and trust," he said of family members and friends. "The vast majority of sexual abuse is never reported," he said. "It's very difficult for kids. Most of the offenses occur among people who children should be able to rely on and trust."
The victim pool, Bliven explained, is one-third under 13 years, a third 13-17 years of age and the remainder 18 years and older. By gender, 86 percent of victims are female, 14 percent male.
Sixty percent of victim/offender relationships are acquaintances, 26 percent family members and 14 percent are not known.
Studies on recidivism, or relapse, show it's dropped since 1997, when community notification and treatment programs were implemented.
"We are seeing the majority of Level 1, 2 and 3 do not re-offend," he said. "It's still disconcerting. But it's not true all sex offenders will re-offend."
"Secrecy," he emphasized, is the most important tool of predatory offenders. Those who are not turned in have a high recidivism rate. "The most important tool in preventing sexual offenses (from reoccurring) is reporting."
Studies show the re-arrest rate is lower for Level 3 offenders than Level 2, Bliven said.
"Community knowledge is the key to preventing new offenses," he said.
Studies show restrictions disallowing proximity to schools, parks and daycare would not have impacted offenses, he said.
"Most re-offenders are in close social contact with family members and friends," he said.
Dexter's record began as a juvenile, at the age of 10, Bliven said. At 18, he engaged in sexual contact with two 13-year-old females on multiple occasions in Kannabec County during a one-year period, according to Bliven.
"The offender used manipulation to gain compliance," Bliven reported. At the same time, he had an age-appropriate girlfriend.
Released as a Level 2 offender in January 2004, he was sent back to prison in July, re-released as a Level 2 in May 2005.
Dexter was sent back to prison as a Level 2 re-offender in July 2005 and designated Level 3 because he was "uncooperative with supervision. He was re-released in November 2007 as a Level 3. He moved to Park Rapids in January of 2011.
Although he is no longer under correctional supervision, he is required to continue registration as a predatory offender until 2021.
Sentenced Aug. 1, he was serving a 75-day jail sentence and will be on probation for third degree assault that occurred in Park Rapids, a gross misdemeanor, according to Hubbard County probation officer Joe Peterson.
He is prohibited from using alcohol and is subject to drug and alcohol testing.
"His sex offender history is not as bad as I've seen," Bliven said, "but he has assaultive behavior. He has a classic unwillingness to cooperate with supervision," he said, noting this is common among men his age released from prison.
Bliven told Akeley residents Dexter has the "right to live here, but he doesn't have the right to privacy."
He urged parents to know who their children spend time with and listen to them. "Teach kids to say no to anything that makes them uncomfortable."
One of the most troublesome times of the day is from 3 to 5 p.m., after school, he said.
"I consider my job as a parent is to annoy my child to no end," Bliven said of his daughter.
"We want to see released offenders succeed," he said.
Liability insurance is available to employers willing to hire offenders at no cost through a state program.
He urged residents to call police officer Jimmy Hansen at 652-4440 with any questions on behavior, or 911 in the event of an emergency.
Dexter appeared in Hubbard County District Court Monday. He was re-arrested on charges out of Becker County Oct. 4, a controlled substance crime and receiving stolen property, said his court-appointed attorney Jennifer Nelson.
But since the paperwork had not yet reached the Hubbard County Attorney's office yet, Nelson asked for a continuance.
"We're in a quandary here judge," she said in court.
Dexter had not yet been charged with a parole violation, but was in court to admit or deny the charge.
Judge Robert Tiffany agreed and continued the hearing until Oct. 31.