High-risk offender likely to get probationPublished 9:23am Friday, March 15, 2013
A high-risk predatory offender slated to be sentenced in May for soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct will likely be sentenced to probation for his crime, said law enforcement officials Thursday night.
The offender, Paul Arthur Berg, 61, was released from the Freeborn County jail Feb. 26 as he awaits his sentencing May 16. Berg, who now lives in a home near the intersection of Capri Avenue and Gene Street, was classified as a high-risk offender after being evaluated at a Minnesota treatment facility in December.
Albert Lea police, along with Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson and a representative from the Crime Victims Crisis Center, discussed Berg’s history and classification Thursday night during a community notification meeting at HealthReach.
About 35 people attended.
“We’re making this notification not to scare you but so you can take steps to make yourself safe and your kids safe,” said Albert Lea Police Department detective Frank Kohl.
Kohl said prior to December, Berg had been a registered offender in Albert Lea but had not been assigned a risk level. He now is a Level 3 offender, the risk level assigned to people most likely to reoffend.
“He’s been living among you for a long, long time,” the detective said. “I’m thinking most of his life.”
According to police, Berg has a history of sexual contact with girls ages 4 to 5, including fondling. He also has a history of sexual conduct with girls ages 9 to 15, including soliciting victims for sex and indecent exposure in public.
Police stated he was known to the 4- to 5-year-old victims but not to the 9- to 15-year-old victims.
Most recently, in May of 2012, he reportedly walked up to a 15-year-old girl in downtown Albert Lea and asked her to have sex.
The girl reportedly called her father, who arrived and chased the man down Broadway toward Sterling Drug. When officers arrived, the girl’s father had him pinned down to the floor.
Though the meeting was set up to discuss Berg, police said he is not the only person parents should try to protect their children from.
Kohl said 73 percent of sexual assaults are perpetrated by non-strangers — or someone that the victim knows.
“It’s up to each and every one of you to protect yourself and your children,” Kohl said.
He said there are 52 registered predatory offenders currently living in Albert Lea, only two of which are assigned as Level 3. Twenty-seven of those offenders do not have an assigned risk level.
Total predatory offenders in Albert Lea
14: Level 1
9: Level 2
2: Level 3