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Level Three Predatory Offender has moved into Fillmore County


Fri, Oct 19th, 2012

Michelle Murphy from the D.O.C. presented facts on sexual predators in the State of Minnesota during a Community Notification Meeting held in Cherry Grove. Photo by Barb Jeffers

A Community Notification Meeting was held on Wednesday, October 17, 2012, at 6:00 p.m. to inform the public that a man convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree has moved into Fillmore County. George Robert Van Fossen moved into a temporary address in rural Cherry Grove on October 2, 2012. The meeting was held at the Cherry Grove Community Center with representatives from the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office and the Fillmore County Attorney’s Office on hand to give information and answer questions. Also present at the meeting was Michele Murphy, Community Notification Director from the Department of Corrections. Ms. Murphy gave an informative presentation to the large group of concerned citizens in attendance.

George Robert Van Fossen, 56, was convicted of engaging in sexual contact with a female victim eight years of age. This contact included penetration. It was determined that George Robert Van Fossen took advantage of the victim’s vulnerable state, and he knew the victim. The temporary address given for George Robert Van Fossen is 193rd Avenue, rural Spring Valley, Minn. A Level Three Predatory Offender is considered the highest public risk for re-offending.

The Community Notification Act went into effect on January 1, 1991, and requires the assignment of a risk level to offenders who must register as a predatory offender before they are released from a state prison or treatment facility. The Act also requires that the community be notified of the offender’s release.

Beth Mulhern and Roger Sanford were two of the concerned citizens who attended the notification meeting. Beth lives near the area and went to the meeting to learn how the notification procedure works and to see a photo of George Robert Van Fossen so she will know him if she sees him. Roger has a seven-year-old Granddaughter who lives very close and he wanted to know who will be held responsible if something were to happen.

The Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department stated that George Robert Van Fossen has served the sentence imposed on him by the court and is not wanted by the police. Michele Murphy from the D.O.C. presented facts on sexual predators in the State of Minnesota and several individual counties in Minnesota as well. There are approximately 17,000 (active) predatory offenders in Minnesota at this time.

Here is the breakdown of the counties (in numbers of registered sexual predators per county) according to the Department of Corrections.

Fillmore County - 48

Olmsted County - 337

Winona County - 133

Houston County - 33

Mower County - 110

The officials noted that an informed community is a safe community. Pay attention to what is going on in your community and report and suspicious behavior, do not approach the offender. More information can be found at www.doc.state.mn.us about sexual offenders and where they reside. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is in charge of the Predatory Offender Registry and the address of the BCA website is www.bca.state.mn.us/bca.asp.

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