Meeting describes sex offender’s limits

Published 9:35 pm Wednesday, April 28, 2010

No sex offender who has moved to Albert Lea has reoffended, as far back as Albert Lea Police Department detective Frank Kohl can recall, and only one in Freeborn County yet outside Albert Lea has reoffended.

It was one detail about 50 people heard Wednesday evening at the Albert Lea National Guard Armory. The people in attendance ranged from residents to media to employees in the local justice system.

They were there to learn about a high-risk sex offender who was released from a state prison earlier this month and is living in Albert Lea. His name is Tai Lars Stadheim, 40, and he has moved to the 2100 block of East Main Street.

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Offenders are classified as Level 1, 2 and 3. Minnesota has had a sex offender registry for 13 years.

Michle Murphy, a community communications officer with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, said the classifications are determined by a five-person committee with members of different backgrounds looking the likelihood of reoffending. Factors are criminal history, juvenile history, medical treatments, prison issues and psychology, among others.

“Sex offenders have always been among us and will always be among us,” Murphy said.

The Albert Lea Police Department will monitor Stadheim for as long as he resides in Albert Lea until he completes the parole portion of his sentence on Nov. 28, 2012. However, he will have to register as a predatory offender with the Minnesota Department of Corrections for the rest of his life. Failure to register is a felony.

During parole, Stadheim can be in public only between the hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. when he can get groceries, attend church, get medical care and do other needs to live life and, Murphy said, he has a right to live free of harassment. He cannot have direct or indirect contact with minors or vulnerable adults, and he must comply with electronic monitoring. He cannot purchase or possess sexual material or enter a sexual establishment.

There presently are 73 registered offenders residing in Freeborn County, of which 61 are in Albert Lea.

There are 36 in Waseca County, 86 in Steele, 40 in Dodge, 93 in Mower and 45 in Faribault.

Murphy, with an overhead slideshow, said most people who are abused sexually are not abused by registered sex offenders. She gave numbers from 2004 that said 58 cases were by registered sex offenders, compared to 527 sex abuse cases from others.

And Murphy noted that 90 percent of sex abuse victims in Minnesota know the person who abused them.

She said in Minnesota the likelihood of registered offenders reoffending has gone down during the 13 years of the program.

Murphy noted a study that found that living near a school, park or day care had no impact on reoffending.

Stadheim was convicted in 2002 of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child for fondling a 9-year-old girl. He also has admitted to authorities other contact with girls, Murphy said.

She urged people to visit the Minnesota DOC website — — and be aware of offenders by sight.

“This is where community vigilance comes in,” Murphy said.

Anyone with concerns about a violation should call law enforcement. The Albert Lea Police Department number is 377-5215.

Kohl said he has been investigating more and more cases involving contact with minors via Facebook and MySpace. He indicated Albert Lea is now a hub for the state ICAC Task Force — the acronym stands for internet crimes against children — to do forensic work on computer hard drives.

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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