A.L. man assigned Level 3 offender status

Published 2:18 pm Thursday, March 7, 2013

An Albert Lea man released from the Freeborn County jail last week has been classified as a Level 3 predatory offender.

Paul Arthur Berg

Paul Arthur Berg

Paul Arthur Berg, 61, was assigned the high-risk level after a mental health evaluation in December, according to Albert Lea Police Department detective Frank Kohl.

Prior, Berg had been a registered offender but didn’t possess a classified risk level.

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Berg had been in the Freeborn County jail until Feb. 26, when he pleaded guilty to soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct. After the plea, Freeborn County District Court Judge Steve Schwab ordered Berg could be released on his promise to appear for sentencing on May 16. In return, the man must abide by a series of conditions, including having no contact with people under 18 and taking the appropriate medications that have been prescribed to him, among others, according to court documents.

The Police Department on Thursday sent out a fact sheet notifying the community about Berg’s release, stating that the man now lives in the vicinity of Capri Avenue and Gene Street.

Berg, who is 6 feet tall and weighs 165 pounds, is a lifelong Albert Lea resident, Kohl said.

Kohl said this is the first time he has seen the Minnesota Department of Corrections assign someone a risk level who has not first gone to prison. A Level 3 offender has the highest likelihood of reoffending.

According to the fact sheet, 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.

He knew the victims ages 4 to 5 but did not know the victims ages 9 to 15.

Most recently, in May of 2012, he reportedly walked up to a 15-year-old girl in downtown Albert Lea, attempted to make sexual advances toward her and then followed her by foot for at least three blocks.

According to court documents, the girl was standing outside Youth for Christ’s The Rock when Berg approached her, asking to have sex. The girl declined, but Berg asked again and put his arms around her.

She broke free, court documents state, and then began to walk quickly down Broadway, continuing to be followed by him.

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 in Sterling Drug.

Kohl said he is planning a community meeting to discuss Berg’s release, probably for one day next week.

Aside from Berg, there is one other Level 3 offender in Albert Lea.

Tai Lars Stadheim, 43, has been living in Albert Lea since he was released from prison in April 2010. He has a history of sexual contact with juvenile female victims, including fondling. He was known to his victims.

The Minnesota Department of Corrections states his registered address is on the 2100 block of East Main Street.