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Level 3 offender Wgeishofski asks Trommald to give him a chance

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TROMMALD — Level 3 predatory offender and convicted rapist Eugene Allen Wgeishofski, who recently moved from Ironton to Trommald, Tuesday asked for the Trommald community to give him a chance.

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Trommald mayor Jim Hiller read the letter written by Wgeishofski’s fiance, Laurie Peka, at the community notification meeting hosted by the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office. Hiller said the letter was given to him to share as Wgeishofski was not allowed to attend the meeting.

Peka wrote that Wgeishofski cannot change his past, but he can change his future. She wrote that Wgeishofski has lived in Crow Wing County for four years and has lived on “good terms with the Crosby police.” She wrote that Wgeishofski works at the Crow Wing County Landfill and he is hard working.

Peka also answered the biggest question the residents attending the meeting had: Why move to Trommald — a community with a population of 98? The answer? Peka wrote that Wgeishofski and herself enjoy the peace and quiet and that they plan to make many home improvements.

Residents questioned why Wgeishofski would move to Trommald, as the community is small and that this was the town’s third community notification meeting. The previous two offenders no longer live in the town.

Sgt. Joe Meyer of the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office said law enforcement authorities don’t have an answer to why predatory offenders move to where they go. He said many times, offenders move to a place where they have family.

Sheriff Todd Dahl said, “If we had a choice, and I’m not always politically correct, but we wouldn’t have any Level 3 offenders in Crow Wing County. But we don’t have a choice. We are doing all we can do ... We will remain aggressive, I promise you that.”

This was the second community notification meeting held in Crow Wing County regarding Wgeishofski. The 57-year-old man is described as 6 feet tall with brown eyes and gray hair, who has a history of sexual contact with female victims age 15 to adult. A community notification meeting was held in 2009 in Crosby for Wgeishofski where more than a 100 people showed up. On Tuesday around 25 people attended. Community notification meets are held when a registered level 3 predatory offender gets out of prison and enters into society and each time a predatory offender moves.

According to the DOC, the contact between Wgeishofski included fondling and penetration. He gained access to victims by breaking into a home, picking up victims hitchhiking and also forcing victims into his vehicle. Wgeishofski gained compliance through force and was not known to his victims. His offenses took place in 1980, 1981 and 1989 to which he served time in prison until his release in 2005.

Michele Murphy, DOC community notification coordinator, went through her detailed presentation on sexual offenders and also about Wgeishofski’s criminal history in Washington state.

• In 1980, Wgeishofski was convicted for third-degree rape of a 15-year-old girl, which included fondling and penetration. The victim and her boyfriend were hitchhiking when Wgeishofski came upon them. He used force, brandished a knife and threatened to kill the girl to get her to comply.

• In 1981, Wgeishofski broke into a residence and held a 24-year-old woman and her husband at gunpoint. During the continued sexual assault Wgeishofski threatened to kill the victim’s husband and 5-month-old child if she did not comply with his demands.

• For both cases, he was sentenced to two 20-year prison sentences to run concurrently. Both sentences were suspended in 1984.

• In 1989 it was alleged he had sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old girl, including solicitation for sex and a request for the girl’s underwear. He used a gun to order the girl into his vehicle. Though he wasn’t charged in the incident, his probation was revoked he served the remainder of his sentence for the 1980 and 1981 crimes. He was in prison from 1990-2005.

• In 2005, he was released from prison and assigned as a Level 3 predatory offender in Washington state. He was reviewed for civil commitment as a sexually violent predator and has been found not to meet criteria.

Wgeishofski is no longer under any kind of law enforcement or state supervision. His only condition is that he must register as a predatory offender for the rest of his life, which means providing information to law enforcement about where he lives, works, goes to school, vehicles he drives and change of appearance.

“We don’t want you to live in fear,” said Dahl. “Just be aware of your surroundings ... Things have changed and we have to start thinking differently.”

Level 3 is the highest level where the offenders are deemed most likely to repeat an offense. There are a total of 287 registered Level 3 predatory offenders in Minnesota and five in Crow Wing County: Wgeishofski; Christopher Eugene Wheeler, Nisswa; Brandon Keith Churchill, rural Brainerd; Dennis Anthony Lee, rural Pequot Lakes; and Joshua Paul Rinde, Brainerd.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at jennifer.stockinger@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5851. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl.

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