For $262,000, the LaDues will leave Waseca

We can’t say we’ve ever seen a GoFundMe campaign quite like the one David LaDue is trying to get going in Waseca, Minn.

LaDue, the father of a troubled young man who was charged with plotting a massacre at his high school, says the family will move out of town if the campaign can raise $262,000. So far, it’s generated $10.

Yesterday, Judge John Chase granted LaDue’s motion to end the young man’s probation and instead leave him with a felony on his record, a curious effort given that a felony conviction is a dead-end path in Minnesota and elsewhere, that continues to punish those who’ve served time.

LaDue was convicted only of possessing explosives and was sentenced to a juvenile facility for the mentally ill. He served his 21-month sentence.

LaDue is now taking welding classes and wants to become a pipe fitter, but he told the court the visits to therapists and his probation officer were interfering with the effort. He won’t be getting any mental health treatment under the deal.

Besides, his attorney says, he’s been marked with a “scarlet letter” in Waseca.

How do you go back to a small town after a case like this?

You don’t, his father’s GoFundMe effort says.

I am offering an avenue to raise funds to finance my family’s relocation far out of Waseca County for the fearful ones among us, whom we feel so sorry for. Homes and moving are expensive things and I require your financial assistance in doing so, if that is what my community truly desires.

If the fundraising goal is reached, I will immediatly (sic) relocate my family at least one hour driving time away from Waseca County.

This gives the community the opportunity to participate in our swift relocation, if that is what they truly desire. A mere $26.25 per person at 10,000 participants will be all I require to make our absense (sic) a reality. This is YOUR chance to put your money where some of your mouths and hearts are!

It’s gotten one donation.

“I am not donating because I believe you should move,” the contributor wrote. “I am donating because I believe your son deserves a fair chance at life. He has served his sentence and should be allowed to live.”

(h/t: Audrey Kletscher Helbling)

  • Jack

    I get why he took the deal so he could move on with his life. However, I hope that he continues to get treatment for his mental health even though he is no longer required to.

    • I think the “long run” comment in the article is important. Pretty tough getting a job as a felon. There’s an effort underway in MN to ease some of the felon punishment after the punishment. It’s going nowhere. Because, of course.

      • Jim E

        Some recent research indicates that “Ban the Box” (BTB) initiatives have the unintended consequence of significantly widening the gap between the percentage of white applicants and the percentage of black applicants who get a call-back interview when they have equivalent qualifications. In studies from NY and NJ, the interview gap jumped from 7% before BTB legislation passed to 45% afterwards.

        Initial screening still takes place, but is now apparently based upon how ethnic your name sounds instead of your criminal convictions. The major beneficiaries of BTB seem to be white felons.


        • I heard a show — might’ve been Miller’s — that said that more employees are imply not hiring men with “African American sounding” names.

          I think the spotlight of effect needs to be more on the racism and illegality of employers, though, rather than on efforts to try to stem it.