Safety, vigilance preached at St. Paul Park sex offender meeting
The recent move of a second Level 3 sex offender to south Washington County prompted law enforcement officials in St. Paul Park to hold a community meeting during which safety and awareness were stressed.
More than 50 residents showed up to the meeting at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in St. Paul Park last week where Minnesota Department of Corrections representative Sarah Hustad and police officer Mike Knudson outlined the offenses of Jeffrey Richard Lofgren, a 56-year-old registered sex offender who was released from a Wisconsin prison and moved to St. Paul Park at the end of May.
“The goal is for Lofgren to transition successfully and be a law-abiding citizen,” Knudson said. “He has done his time and now we focus on what can we do to make sure he’s safe and make sure the community is safe.”
Lofgren, Hustad said, has prior convictions in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.
In Minnesota, his criminal history includes sexual conduct and contact with males ages 14 to 17. He also solicited victims for sex and non-touch-related sexual behavior. The sexual conduct included fondling and penetration.
Hustad said all Lofgren’s victims knew him prior to the misconduct and he gained access to his victims by befriending or employing them.
He pleaded guilty to felony sex crimes in 1991 in Aitkin County, 1996 in Isanti county, and again in 1997 in Aitkin County.
Lofgren was released from Minnesota prison in 1999 but was promptly taken to prison in Wisconsin following a conviction in St. Croix County for second-degree sexual assault of a child and soliciting a child for prostitution.
He served a 15-year prison sentence and was released May 26, Hustad said.
Lofgren is currently registered on the Minnesota sex offender registry and has a lifetime registration in place in Wisconsin.
With Lofgren’s Level 3 designation and number of reoffenses, several St. Paul Park residents questioned why he was released from prison.
“His prison sentence has expired and he has served his time,” Hustad said.
In Minnesota, sex offenders are assigned supervisors who monitor the offender’s whereabouts and actions within the community. Knudson said the St. Paul Police Department is being “extra cautious.”
“We are monitoring him very closely and we will continue to monitor him, he already knows us very well,” Knudson said. “We will check on him often but he is allowed to live his life, too.”
Hustad added that several studies in Minnesota have shown that since stricter supervision standards and better management practices have been put into place, the rate of recidivism has declined.
Hustad noted that while Lofgren is the first Level 3 sex offender to move to St. Paul Park, he is not the only offender living in city limits. There are currently six other sex offenders living in St. Paul Park. Lofgren is the only Level 3 offender.
According to state law, authorities are only required to notify the public when a Level 3 offender moves to the community.
“Don’t focus on this one person,” Hustad said. “And don’t think of this as a loss to the quality of your life. I know it’s easy to focus on him, but what you should be doing is focusing on is the safety of your kids.
“These people are everywhere,” she added. “And as a community, you must be vigilant all the time.”
Officer Knudson urged the public to report any suspicious behavior or contact local law enforcement with any questions.
The Department of Corrections provided a number of resources to area residents during a community notification meeting about a Level 3 sex offender’s move to St. Paul Park:
- Minnesota Predatory Offender Registry, https://por.state.mn.us.
- Minnesota Department of Corrections sex offender records, www.doc.state.mn.us. Click on “Search Offender Records” and search by name or location.
- National Sex Offender Public website, www.nsopr.gov.
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, www.missingkids.com, 800-843-5678.
- Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children, 651-265-3882.
- Minnesota Department of Health sexual violence prevention information, www.health.state.mn.us/svprevent.
- Office of Justice Programs’ crime victim services, www.ojp.state.mn.us, 888-622-8799.
- Stop It Now! Minnesota, www.stopitnow.org./mn, 888-PREVENT (773-8368).