The Star Tribune reports that for the past two years, a high-risk, mentally ill sex offender was living at times with women with mental illnesses in a coed facility.
After the Star Tribune asked state officials about the living arrangement on Tuesday, officials investigated and moved Ambrose Slaughter, 43, who had served prison time for kidnapping and attempted criminal sexual conduct, to another housing unit, the newspaper reported.
The Star Tribune obtained documents that indicate that Slaughter engaged in inappropriate behavior with a female patient earlier this year, and staffers reported that he required constant supervision. Slaughter’s placement in the coed area at the Regional Treatment Center in Anoka with other vulnerable adults also may have violated a court order related to a lawsuit against the state, the Star Tribune reported.
“All our patients at Anoka Regional Treatment Center are vulnerable adults,” Deputy Human Services Commissioner Anne Barry said in a statement to the newspaper. “Every patient comes to us with unique risks, and we assess and manage those risk to protect all our patients.”
The 200-bed Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center is the state’s second-largest psychiatric facility, home to patients with "complex medical histories," according to state officials. The Star Tribune notes that it is the facility where patients who had been committed to the state’s security hospital in St. Peter are often moved as officials prepare to transition them back into community services.
In related news, state officials are struggling with the broader debate about Minnesota's Sex Offender Program, which allows the state to keep high-risk sex offenders – currently nearly 700 of them – locked up at two facilities in Moose Lake and St. Peter. Some offenders allege that confinement violates their constitutional rights because it amounts to a de-facto life sentence.
Gov. Mark Dayton has directed the state Department of Human Services to oppose any future recommendations that sex offenders be released, at least for now. Dayton ordered lawmakers to seek solutions to the constitutional questions.
Meanwhile, a state panel that has been examining the issue is planning next month to recommend dramatic changes to the program, including the provisional release of some offenders.