A Ramsey County panel of judges has issued a written order outlining the terms for the state's first official release of a civilly committed man from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.
Attorney William Lubov represents Clarence Opheim, 64, who's been civilly committed for nearly two decades and is in a state treatment facility in St Peter. Opheim has confessed to as many as 100 predatory sexual acts, mostly involving young boys.
Lubov says the judges' order will allow Opheim to leave the facility within three weeks. Opheim will be closely monitored and live in a community-based halfway house under state contract, according to The Minnesota Department of Human Services.
"The provisional discharge plan will provide for a lot of protection," according to DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. "We can't guarantee protection. There's no absolute guarantee for public safety. But there are a lot of protections built into this provisional discharge plan."
Opheim will be monitored 24 hours a day and wear a GPS bracelet, among other precautions, according to Jesson.
House Republican Majority Leader Matt Dean is questioning Opheim's release, and has scheduled a legislative hearing Wednesday to discuss the case. "This particular offender is very dangerous," said Dean. "If you were going to release anyone in the program -- I cannot imagine that you would choose this person."
Dean points out Opheim has confessed to criminal sexual acts involving boys as young as 8.