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General News

MN: Victoria neighborhood protests person listed on the registry at level 3

A group of frustrated, angry and concerned citizens is keeping a close watch on a person listed on the registry at level 3, recently released into their Victoria neighborhood.

The group is hoping to have Vanhecke removed from that area. But state Department of Corrections officials believe he is not a public danger and is entitled to live at the residence in question.

One DOC official believes the community group maintaining a constant vigil outside Vanhecke’s residence may be doing a disservice to him and the community.

Regardless of the DOC’s position, residents of the Woods Circle/Woods Drive area are upset about how Vanhecke’s case was handled.

Jon McCarthy, a spokesman for the Keep Victoria Kids Safe group, says a number of people, including legislators, are looking into how Vanhecke could be released into a neighborhood filled with hundreds of children.
“How is it possible for a level 3 person to move into an area so dense with children? Everybody realizes that this is not a proper placement, not only for our neighborhood but also for him,” McCarthy said. “This is just blatantly wrong.”

McCarthy and others in the neighborhood say they did not receive proper notification from the state about the placement, adding that “everyone here would have voiced opposition to him coming here. This is the worst place possible for someone like that to move to.”

Vanhecke, 42, a former substitute teacher, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2017. He was convicted of sexual contact with two girls, ages 7 and 8, as well as possession of child pornography.

An online petition to have Vanhecke’s placement and the DOC placement process in general examined has garnered thousands of signatures. The cohesive neighborhood effort has also bonded residents of that housing development, McCarthy said.

Vanhecke is living with his father, who declined an opportunity last week to answer questions from a reporter outside the Vanhecke residence.

Jordan Ensrud, who lives next to Vanhecke, was “very surprised and concerned” to learn only a few days before that Vanhecke was moving in next door. He said he visited briefly with Vanhecke about the situation but received little satisfaction.

“There’s a good chance nothing physical will happen with the guy released, but a lot of it is the mental intimidation around it,” Ensrud added. “The overarching mental aspect has suppressed the energy in the neighborhood.

I’ve gotten no information that has put me at ease about his placement.”
Mark Bliven, the Minnesota DOC’s director of risk assessment/community notification, said all the notifications were done properly and is asking the public to allow Vanhecke an unobstructed opportunity to succeed or fail on his own.

“Could there have been earlier notification, yes, if everything had fallen into place,” Bliven said, adding that the DOC did not place Vanhecke, but instead “responded to his request to live in a certain location.

“Can he be relocated, no, not really,” said Bliven, adding that officials investigated the location where Vanhecke wanted to live and determined they could supervise him safely at that site. “We don’t actually have the authority to deny him a place simply based on people not wanting him there.”

Bliven said Vanhecke “took advantage of relationships” with the girls he assaulted, something he’s not likely to have with any children in the neighborhood. “That veil of secrecy has been removed from him. No one’s going to think of him as an upstanding member of the community as they did 10 years ago.”

Vanhecke is allowed to leave the residence alone, but has numerous restrictions, especially regarding children and computer use, Bliven said.
Bliven said he understands people are upset Vanhecke’s placement.

“That would be the reaction no matter where he lived. Do we think at all that he’s an actual danger to that community, no, we don’t,” Bliven said. “Can we say that there’s not a chance in the world that something could happen; of course not. But we have an extremely successful record working with this type of clientele.”

Vanhecke is under the DOC intense supervision for 10 years. It began when he moved to the Victoria residence on June 22. Bliven doesn’t expect Vanhecke to remain at that residence for a decade. There would be another notification if/when he relocates.

Vanhecke has to have his entire calendar, including any activity outside the house, approved by his supervising agent, Bliven said.

“We need to give him the opportunity to succeed,” Bliven said. “We don’t have to give him too many breaks on things, but we also should not be trying to make him stumble. Harassing him and holding up signs; making his life miserable is not benefitting public safety. What benefits public safety is letting him work through all the issues he has.”

There are about 475 at level 3 in Minnesota communities, including 140 in Minneapolis, Bliven said. Three are in Carver County, according to DOC records.

The Victoria City Council has scheduled a public hearing on July 19 for discussion of its residency restrictions ordinance that was adopted in 2017.
Bliven said many Minnesota communities have adopted such ordinances, but said the question is whether they are enforceable if challenged. He said one city paid out $80,000 to a person listed on the registry in a lawsuit.

 

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I’m getting sick of hearing these kinds of stories. This man has the same right as his neighbors to live in peace. The courts have weighed in on the issue of focused / protesting taking place solely in front of a particular residence as being absolutely prohibited. Any harassment, or disturbing the peace should be dealt with by obtaining a protective order against any and all of the neighbors who engage in this. Maybe that will teach them.

It is obvious that the public website/ notification scheme that is supposed to make the community feel all warm and safe ain’t workin.

All this proves so far is how the Registry creates stress and unnecessary panic in a community that doesn’t know how to deal with someone’s past. Some things are better not disclosed to the public.

The only people that directly benefits from the Registry are politicians and law enforcement because that secures their votes and their jobs.

I agree. Now there’s panic about this guy who can’t hardly do anything without telling his probation officer. A calendar with daily events. Going to the grocery store on Monday. Staying home the rest of the week cause I can’t go anywhere. Haircut on Saturday. It’s Future Crimes 101–he did his time. No evidence he will reoffend.

These pro registry people have zero morals , is this how they would want to be treated if the rolls were reversed ? Most are not really in fear at all , they just want to whine and hate on people , I would be willing to say most of these people are far more dangerous than any of the people they abuse, they are twisted in their minds , never will there be a positive out come from doing negative to others already are in pain or just trying to get back up in life , only cowards kick people when they are down , and since LE is one of the biggest pushers of this lame Registry they need to start driving it home to these trouble makers that there is a price to pay for harassing PFR’s , because if we have to handle the issue we are treated far less than fair , been here done this and LE always takes the side of the troublemaker , and its the PFR the ends up in jail /paying the finds and ever beat down by LE , this is a huge oversight of the overrated /worthless registry , so if the big babies just have to have this registry for now they can at least tote the letter of the law , rather than make us easy targets of hate and violence , Let the haters do some jail time and pay some ridiculous fines , myself I think they want us to go ballistic so the they can just say see out of control violent criminal , how dare they protect them self from dangerous vigilante’s

Level 1 and 2 sexoffenders are lucky they get to go free one day and after January 1st 2022 they won’t be leveled with the most dangerous people on Megan’s law website anymore.
California createing these tier levels are only gonna make things worse for people trying to reintegrate back into society. People are going to judge them by what level they are and people with the highest level will constantly be harrassed by the community.

@Chad,

To be clear since this article is in regards to MN, they use a level 1, 2, and 3 system and have their own version of a Static-99. The level you are assigned is based solely on your your likelyhood of re offense which includes the reoffense score among other things. It is NOT offense based and there are not all that many that get assigned to level 3. While you have to register at all levels none are lifetime for a first offense and levels 1 and 2 are law enforcement only currently (though last legislative session they tried to make level 2 reportable to anyone in government that might have reason to visit your home such as tax assessors)

Level 3 is public in Minnesota or has that changed. Level 0 to 3 nobody should be on a registry. We got through without one and no society has way to many people with missing bolts or nuts.

Level 3 is public yes. I don’t agree with any of it being public but that wasn’t the point of my posting. My point was to explain MN system.

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