Offender's plans upset NE Brainerd folks
Northeast Brainerd residents do not want a Level 3 predatory offender moving into their neighborhood.
Unfortunately, as more than 50 residents learned at a Level 3 community notification meeting Wednesday night, state law allows the offender, 24-year-old Joshua Matthew McMillen, to move into the community upon completion of his prison term.
McMillen’s term is up Thursday, and he will be moving to a residence on the 200 block of Fourth Avenue Northeast. One resident Wednesday noted there are 13 children living on that block.
“That is scary,” she said.
The emphasis, said Mark Bliven of the Department of Corrections, should be on communication — through the notification process, parents with their children, residents with police and neighbor with neighbor.
The residents crammed into the meeting room at the Brainerd Police Department Wednesday to hear from Bliven and others about McMillen’s criminal history and what kind of monitoring he will be on once he is released from prison.
As a juvenile, McMillen reportedly engaged in numerous instances of sexual contact with a juvenile male and a juvenile female victim for which he was not criminally charged.
In 2003 he was charged as a juvenile with gross misdemeanor third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Aitkin County after he engaged in sexual contact with a 9-year-old female he knew.
In 2005 he was charged with felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Crow Wing County after he engaged in sexual contact with a 14-year-old female he knew.
For the 2005 charge he was placed on supervised probation with an 18-month stayed prison sentence. He violated the conditions of his probation, however, and was sent to prison.
On March 1, 2010, he was released from prison as a Level 2 offender and placed on intensive supervised release. On July 28, 2010, his release was revoked because he failed to follow supervision and he was returned to prison.
On May 12 he was released from prison as a Level 3 predatory offender and again placed on intensive supervised release. McMillen was moving to a residence on Laurel Street in downtown Brainerd and a community notification meeting was held but only three people attended.
On June 28 his release was again revoked and he was returned to prison.
Bliven noted McMillen’s revocations of release were not because of new crimes committed but because he was not cooperating with his supervision.
McMillen’s sentence — and his placement on intensive supervised release — will expire Feb. 23, 2020. However, he will have to register as a predatory offender for the rest of his life.
The conditions of intensive supervised release include completing sex offender programming, no purchasing or possessing sexually explicit materials, no direct or indirect contact with minors, no use of Internet, no drugs or alcohol and he must look for a job.
He also will be on a GPS monitor for a period of time after his release, spend 40 hours a week engaged in a constructive activity and will only be allowed outside his residence from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. He also will be visited at least four times a week by five-member team of DOC supervising agents.
“He’s got to walk the straight and narrow,” Bliven said.
Many of the questions from the residents centered around how parents could keep their childeren safe at a bus stop near McMillen’s residence, how he could be allowed so close to a school and whether there will be increased police presence in the neighborhood.
While knowing about McMillen was important — hence the community notification meeting — Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston asked that people not focus too much on him but on the safety of their children in general.
More dangerous are the threats no one knows about, McQuiston said.
“We’ve got a lot of other people to worry about than just him,” McQuiston said.
Bliven noted that there 16,500 registered offenders in Minnesota, 184 registered offenders living in Crow Wing County about half of whom — 90 total — live in Brainerd.
While statistics show a low likelihood for a predatory offender to commit further sex offenses, Bliven said no one in law enforcement could give a 100-percent guarantee that nothing would happen in the future.
One parent said her children are worried about a Level 3 offender moving into their neighborhood. She said she would be walking them to the bus stop every morning, and suggested other parents could do the same.
McQuiston said that was the spirit behind the community notification meeting — to get people talking with law enforcement and with each other. The people are the eyes and ears of the neighborhood, Bliven said, and should call law enforcement of DOC agents if they see suspicious behavior.
“No one here is crazy about this person moving here but I look at this as an opportunity for all of us to meet together, get to know each other,” McQuiston said. “Hopefully this creates better communication between (police) and you, and between yourselves.”
Tonya Heldt, executive director of the Women’s Center, said she thought it was great to have so many community members get to know each other. The circumstances, however, were not so great, she said.
“I think it’s really sad that it takes the release of a Level 3 predatory offender for people to care about these issues,” Heldt said. “To see people actually coming together, being concerned about their neighbors’ safety, their kids’ safety, their own safety, is extremely important.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.