High-risk offender decides to stay in Rochester

By Tim Ruzek

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

A high-risk sex offender has decided not to move to Austin after all and has returned to Rochester.

On Friday, Mower County authorities reported that Shannon Michael Benson, 29, was living in an Austin motel after registering an address change on Nov. 9. Authorities distributed a release about Benson and notified area schools and businesses.

Sheriff Terese Amazi said Tuesday that authorities canceled a public-notification meeting planned for Thursday night because Benson is back in Rochester, having decided not to move.


Rochester Police Lt. Al Kuehl said Benson registered with authorities late Monday. His address is listed as homeless. Benson indicated he will be in the downtown area, Kuehl said. No notification meeting is required because one was held in August 2007, when Benson was released from prison and returned to live in Rochester. Kuehl said he had only been in Austin a few days.

A Level 3 sex offender is deemed the highest risk of re-offending.

Benson wasn’t violating any rules by moving around because he is not under supervision after serving his full prison sentence, Amazi said. Benson still is required to register his information, such as address, employment and vehicles.

Benson, released from prison in August 2007, has a history of engaging in sexual contact with juveniles, according to last week’s release. Benson, who was known to his victims, has used manipulation and force to gain compliance, the release says.

The Olmsted County attorney’s office has petitioned twice to have Benson committed indefinitely under civil provision as a sexually dangerous person. Psychologists, however, determined Benson didn’t meet the criteria for commitment.

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