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Area residents briefed on sex offender

By Dawn Schuett

schuett@postbulletin.com

DENNISON — Ann Laue, the mayor of Dennison, learned two weeks ago that a man registered as a Level 3 sex offender had moved here, after seeing his photo on a flier at the post office.

Laue and about 50 other residents heard more about him Wednesday during a community notification meeting at the Warsaw Township Hall in Goodhue County.

He is 36-year-old David Roger Voracek, a man convicted twice in Olmsted County for third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving two teenage girls.

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Voracek was sentenced to probation in both cases but after violating conditions of probation, he was ordered in December 2005 to serve 18 months in prison. He was released from prison in January and placed at the state security hospital in St. Peter, Minn., while undergoing an evaluation to determine if he met the criteria for civil commitment as a sexually dangerous person. A Goodhue County judge dismissed the petition for civil commitment because Voracek did not meet the criteria.

Voracek is on intensive supervised release. As a Level 3 offender, Voracek is among those considered at highest risk to re-offend.

In a town as small as Dennison, a town of about 170 people about 40 miles northwest of Rochester, any newcomer is easily noticed, but Voracek’s presence is unsettling, Laue said.

"It feels like he took away our small-town security," she said.

The Minnesota Corrections Department and the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office organized the meeting to inform residents not just of Voracek, but also to educate them about recognizing the behavior of predatory offenders.

"Hopefully, you’ll start thinking about sex offenders and their behavior," said Scott Behrends of the corrections department. "Trust there are people out there who have not been caught yet."

Minnesota has 14,000 registered sex offenders and as of Jan. 1, 647 of them were considered Level 3. Of those, 40 are under supervision in communities, 58 are no longer supervised and about 550 are in prisons, halfway houses or other programs.

In Goodhue County, there are 120 registered sex offenders, Behrends said, including three living in Dennison. Voracek is the only Level 3 offender under intensive supervised release in the county.

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Some people at the meeting wanted more information about Voracek, such as his address and place of employment, than what officials said they could release under the law.

Goodhue County Sheriff Dean Albers said the existence of a sex offender registry is a valuable tool for law enforcement and the public. "This is good information, believe me," he said. "I wish we had this stuff years ago."

The state’s Community Notification Act took effect in 1997.

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