A second person at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program's (MSOP) Moose Lake facility has died from COVID-19.
The man died on Wednesday, Dec. 9, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) shared on Thursday.
This marks the second sex offender at an MSOP facility (there are two – Moose Lake and St. Peter) to die of COVID-19. Last week, DHS said a person in the program died on Dec. 2. He also was at the Moose Lake facility.
DHS, citing data privacy laws, has not released the names of either person.
“We offer our condolences to his family and all who are grieving,” Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said in a statement. “We’re all saddened by this loss.”
Nearly 740 people who are civilly committed to receive treatment at MSOP facilities, the DHS website says. A court can order a person to be civilly committed and placed in sex offender treatment for an unspecified amount of time after they finish their prison sentence.
There are currently 20 active cases of COVID-19 among sex offenders at the two facilities.
DHS says the facilities have infection-prevention measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including screening staff and program members daily for fever and other symptoms; voluntary weekly testing of staff and program members; requiring masks; only allowing program members to gather with people who live in their units; and isolating program members who are exposed or test positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, outside visits to MSOP facilities have been suspended and essential service providers who must go into a facility have to pass a screening test first.
While this marks the second death of someone at a sex offender facility in Minnesota, there have been six COVID-related deaths of incarcerated individuals in Minnesota's prison system.
The ACLU-Minnesota filed a lawsuit in October claiming prison inmates in Minnesota are not adequately protected from COVID-19.