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Board recommends conditional release of 2 from sex offender program

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A Department of Human Services special review board recommended the release of two men from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program's facilities.

The Star Tribune reports Thomas Duvall and Kirk Fugelseth would be only the third and fourth offenders approved for conditional release in the program's 20-year history.

Court records show Duvall was convicted of raping and terrorizing a 17-year-old Brooklyn Park teen at knife point in 1987 after completing a prison term for a separate rape, the newspaper said. Fugelseth admitted to molesting more than 30 children and was civilly committed in 2003.

If a state Supreme Court appeals panel approves, the two would be discharged under several conditions and would continue to be monitored.

The state sex offender program provides treatment for nearly 700 offenders at facilities in both Moose Lake and St. Peter, and has been the subject of criticism since it has yet to treat and fully discharge an offender from the program.

After a class-action lawsuit was filed last year by several civilly committed sex offenders, a judge ordered the state to show that treatment leads to rehabilitation and release versus a lifetime sentence.

Lawmakers failed to approve any changes to the program during the last legislative session, which may leave a decision on the program up to a federal judge.

Former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, who’s leading a panel working on recommendations for the program, says a judge could rule the program unconstitutional.

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