Judge says Dayton, MN sexual offender housing restrictions must go
The decision concerns a city ordinance that effectively barred convicted sex offenders from living anywhere in the city of Dayton, a semirural community of about 5,000 residents northwest of the Twin Cities. The measure was hastily passed by the Dayton City Council in late 2016 after residents raised alarms over plans by the state to move three convicted rapists from Minnesota’s sex offender treatment program to a group home in the city.
In her ruling, Hennepin County District Judge Susan Robiner declared the ordinance “void and invalid” because it was expressly designed to conflict with a state law that establishes a legal process for releasing civilly committed sex offenders from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) and reintegrating them into society. Such ordinances, the judge added, would have a “devastating effect” on the MSOP’s ability to discharge offenders from the program.