Tired of waiting for reform, sex offenders run for office

Back in the ’90s, the Minnesota Supreme Court struck down the law that allows the state to incarcerate people after they’ve served their prison sentences because they might offend again. The court said it was unconstitutional to place the burden on the men to prove they wouldn’t commit more crimes, shifting the burden to the state.

Ostensibly the men are in the Moose Lake facility for sex offenders for “treatment,” not punishment. But only two have been released over the last 20 years, a fact that more than suggests the court decision of the ’90s really didn’t change anything, and neither has the Legislature, which punted on the recommendations of a task force. A federal judge has sent the issue to trial.

So now it’s come to this, the Star Tribune reports today: The sex offenders are trying to get elected to office.

Inmates — whoops: “residents” — are holding drives to get registered to vote, with the goal that they’ll vote for their own in a town of just 2,700 people.

“People here are fed up with what isn’t happening and should be happening,” Kenny Daywitt, a sex offender who is running for Moose Lake City Council, tells the Strib. “They want big changes, and getting our people elected is one way to make that happen.”

Because that would scare the hell out of Moose Lake residents on the other side of the razor wire.

“I don’t think people here appreciate candidates with ulterior motives,” Doug Juntunen, a Carlton County Sheriff’s deputy candidate said. “And to me, the sex offenders clearly have an ulterior motive. They just want to be able to walk about [in Moose Lake] and aren’t looking out for the best interests of the city.”

Related: Moose Lake candidate talks about why he’s running (All Things Considered).

  • jon

    If you don’t want sex offenders voting in your local city election, let them move out of the city!

    Bob, I’d love to hear some follow up on this after the election on the voter turn out numbers for moose lake inside and outside of the facility.
    I think it would be ironic if the people who are being rehabilitated to be productive members of society voted at a higher rate than those who aren’t.

    • Kassie

      And, along the same lines, if you don’t want convicted sex offenders walking the streets, change sentencing rules. Locking people up indefinitely after they have served their sentence is cruel and hopefully found unconstitutional.

  • steve baker

    Back when I was young, my grandmother used to express her displeasure with the fellow citizens of her home town by saying, “You could build a fence around (town) and call it Moose Lake.”

    Today, I guess you could build a fence around Moose Lake and call it Moose Lake?

  • Abby Rhodes

    Not “inmates”, or even “residents”. The state calls them (we call them) “clients”.