Few turn out for meeting about offender
Two years ago a community notification meeting for a Level 3 predatory offender moving into Brainerd attracted more than 50 people.
On Thursday, only three people showed up for the community notification meeting for Level 3 predatory offender Joshua Matthew McMillen, 23, who is being released from prison May 12 and will be moving to a residence on the 600 block of Laurel Street in the downtown.
Vicki Liebeg and Bryan Haakenson, Brainerd residents, for a short time were the only people in the audience at the Brainerd Police Department. After the meeting started they were joined by a student who was attending the meeting for a class.
Liebeg said she was surprised more people didn’t show up.
“I really thought there’d be a lot more people here,” Liebeg said.
Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston also expressed surprise at the lack of attendance. He said he wasn’t sure why the notification meeting failed to attract more residents.
“Are people becoming more accustomed to these things, the notification process?” McQuiston asked, noting the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department held a Level 3 notification meeting about two months ago. “I wonder if some of it, too, isn’t the resources that are available. The resources are on the Internet, people are more savvy and maybe they answered their own questions, got the same information that’s being presented here.”
Still, the meeting went on and Michele Murphy, community notification coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, went through her well-practiced presentation on sexual offenders in general and on McMillen specifically. Instead of speaking through a microphone to a room full of people, however, she spoke directly to Liebeg and Haakenson.
Detailing his criminal sexual history, Murphy said McMillen had reportedly engaged in numerous instances of sexual conduct with juvenile males and females but was never charged. In 2003, while a juvenile, he was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a 9-year-old victim for which he received probation. In 2005 he was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a 14-year-old female victim. He originally received probation but after violating that probation he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
On March 1, 2010, McMillen was released from prison as a Level 2 predatory offender and placed on intensive supervised release. On July 28, 2010, his supervision status was revoked because he failed to follow directions and he was sent back to prison.
When McMillen is released from prison May 12, he will not only be listed as a Level 3 predatory offender but he will be under supervision from the Department of Corrections until 2020, he’ll have to complete sex offender programming, chemical dependency programming, be on electronic surveillance and he’ll have to register as a predatory offender for the rest of his life.
“He’s going to be on supervision for a very long time,” Murphy said.
In general terms, Murphy said there are 229 Level 3 offenders in Minnesota, 92 of which are supervised by the Department of Corrections. In total, there are 16,500 predatory offenders registered in Minnesota, 198 registered predatory offenders in Crow Wing County and 132 registered predatory offenders in Brainerd.
In McMillen’s case, Murphy said though he has served his sentence and it was against the law to harass him, residents should remain aware of what he is doing and report suspicious activity to the police.
“He is a Level 3 that lives here and you know all about him, so it’s possible you may notice suspicious behavior he’s engaging in and you also know he’s on supervision so you can call the police,” Murphy said. “You are the eyes and ears of the community and I know law enforcement relies heavily on you. That’s one of the reasons community notification works.”
Nicole Kern, one of four DOC agents who will be supervising McMillen, said he will be monitored by a GPS unit attached to his ankle. He will be allowed out of his residence from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays to look for a job or go to appointments, but during that time there will be places he can’t go, such as near schools or parks.
Kern said McMillen will be seen four times a week minimum when he’s released from prison. He will be subject to drug and alcohol tests at all hours and will have to attend sex offender treatment. If he gets a job, a DOC agent will check on him there.
“We go where they are,” Kern said.
Liebeg, who has young children at home, said she attended McMillen’s community notification meeting because she wanted to see how the process worked, what kind of restrictions McMillen would have and how DOC agents would keep track of McMillen.
“I’m satisfied with the way that they have things set up,” Liebeg said. “I feel a little more safe.”
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.