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Sveen sentenced to six years in prison for sexual assault

Fri, Jul 28th, 2006
Posted in Court

PRESTON - On Monday, July 24, 2006, Judge Robert Benson sentenced Jason Sveen, 27, of Lanesboro to three years in prison on each of two counts of criminal sexual contact in the third degree, the maximum penalty under sentencing guidelines. The two terms are to be served consecutively.

Sveen had pled guilty to having sexual contact with two minor females on or about April 2004. At the time, Sveen was on supervised release as a Level 3 Sexual Predator, conditions which restricted his having unsupervised contact with minors. Sveen was returned to prison after violating the conditions of his release.

Judge Robert Benson said that he was sentencing Sveen to consecutive terms because the defendant had committed these crimes while under the strictest supervision and that it failed to prevent these crimes from occurring. He also didn't believe that there was much chance of success if Sveen were to attend out-patient treatment. The judge also noted the apparent lack of remorse or empathy for the victims showed by Sveen.

"It's my understanding that in prison you are undergoing sexual offender treatment. I hope it works for your sake and the sake of the security of the public," Benson said. The Judge also ordered Sveen to pay $1825 in restitution and set Sveen's post-prison conditional release at 10 years.

In asking for the maximum sentence, County Attorney Brett Corson called Sveen "a dangerous individual" who spent his time "grooming young ladies."

Corson told the court that a pyscho-sexual evaluation conducted as part of the pre-sentence investigation, described Sveen as a "patterned predator at a high risk to offend in the future."

A statement from one of the victims was read to the court before sentencing. The victim talked about some of the emotional problems she has faced over the past two years.

"He took advantage of me, and manipulated me into trusting him," the victim told the court.

The victim's mother also spoke, describing the last two years as an "emotional rollercoaster" for her daughter.

The second mother said that the community deserved to feel safe and protected and urged the judge to give the maximum sentence.

Early in the proceedings, Defense Attorney Fred Suhler had asked for a continuance on the grounds that the pre-sentence investigation contained errors in fact, including a recommendation that said that sentencing guidelines called for a lifetime conditional release when Sveen is eventually released from prison.

Judge Benson denied the continuance while clarifying and correcting the error.

Defense Attorney Fred Suhler called the events surrounding Sveen's conviction a tragedy, both for the victims as well as for his client.

"I hope he [Sveen] will take advantage of the opportunities available to him in prison," Suhler said.

Sveen chose not to address the court prior to sentencing. Judge Benson gave Sveen credit for time served since November 22, 2005.

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