An imprisoned high level sex offender who was planning to move to Hastings, Mn., after his release next month may stay behind bars instead, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Hennepin County officials have asked a judge to commit Darrin Rick to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. The case is being closedly watched because of the November disappearance of Dru Sjodin, a 22-year-old University of North Dakota student. A recently released sex offender, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., has been charged with kidnapping Sjodin at a North Dakota shopping mall.
Rick, 36, is among the first few “Level 3” sex offenders to near the end of a prison term since the state announced a policy of referring such offenders to prosecutors to determine whether they should pursue commitment. The policy resulted from the Sjodin case because Rodriguez was not recommended for commitment after his May prison release. Last week, the state Corrections Department alerted prosecutors to about 70 Level 3 offenders approaching their release and about 130 already in the community. Level 3 offenders are considered the most likely to reoffend.
The Rick case “is an example of someone that has an extensive number of sexual assault convictions, he preys on vulnerable juveniles … and we feel he meets the standards for commitment,” Minneapolis prosecutor Amy Klobuchar said. “This is an example of a case that wasn’t referred (before the new policy went into effect) that we felt there should be a commitment in.”
Hastings police had been planning for their first-ever community notification hearing about a Level 3 sex offender. A meeting was planned for Jan. 6 a high school in anticipation of his Jan. 19 release, and word had begun spreading through the city of about 19,000.