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Sex offender moving to Rochester area after release from state program

Sex offender moving to Rochester area after release from state program

One of the few individuals ever to be released from Minnesota's controversial Sex Offender Program will be moving to the Rochester area.

Benjamin Gissendanner, 68, will move to Rock Dell Township after he is provisionally discharged from the program in September, authorities say.

An exact address was not immediately available. However, a community meeting on his release is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 18 at the East St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Byron.

Photo: Benjamin Gissendanner

Representatives from the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which will supervise Gissendanner, will be on hand to answer questions from the public.

Gissendanner was convicted in 1982 of breaking into a St. Paul woman's home and sexually assaulting her. Prior to that incident, he served time for a similar offense in New York.

It's important to remember that Gissendanner has served his entire court-imposed sentence and is not wanted by police. He will be under strict supervision upon his release.

He's just the fourth offender to be conditionally released from Minnesota's Sex Offender Program during its 20 years of operation. No resident, even those with low-level convictions, has ever been fully released from the program.

In June, a federal judge ruled the program unconstitutional, saying that it is “fundamental to our notions of a free society that we do not imprison citizens because we fear that they might commit a crime in the future.”

Gov. Mark Dayton, who disagrees with the ruling, is now proposing reforms to the program. On Monday, he held a closed-door meeting on the issue with the judge, legislative leaders and other top officials.

 
 

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