Ray Messer is first inmate to commit suicide at state's sex offender facility [MUGSHOT]
Ray Messer was convicted of criminal sexual conduct four times in a 20 year span. He died following a suicide attempt last Friday.
Over the weekend, 45-year-old Ray Messer became the first inmate to commit suicide at the state's sex offender facility in Moose Lake.
It's unclear how Messer killed himself, but MPR, citing conversations with offenders at the facility, reports that cheap razors and drugs are commonly used in suicide attempts. Offenders told MPR they believe there are a few suicide attempts at the facility each week, while authorities claim there are usually about 10 over the course of an entire year.
[Messer] was convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in 1987, 1993 and 2007, and of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct and in 1991 and of failing to register as a criminal sexual offender in 2001. Messer was committed to the sex offender program in 2007 after an assault on a preteen family member...
Since its creation in 1994, the sex offender program has grown rapidly and now has 693 clients. But only one client has been provisionally discharged to the community in that time, leading some critics in the legal community to call the program a de facto life sentence...
A federal class-action lawsuit filed by several clients is challenging the constitutionality of the program. Daniel Gustafson, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said Monday that he didn't know Messer. He said the plaintiffs and state have been in settlement talks for about a year. "We're sort of getting to the point where we're going to settle the case or litigate the case," Gustafson said. "I think we'll know the answer within the next 10 days."
In June 2012, Britain's High Court refused to extradite Shawn Sullivan to Minnesota to face charges for allegedly groping two 11-year-old girls, citing concerns about how Minnesota handles sex offenders. In their decision, judges wrote that "there was a real risk that if returned, Mr. Sullivan will be the subject of an order of civil commitment," adding that placing him in the program would amount to a flagrant denial of his human rights.
One offender currently at the Moose Lake facility, Ken Timms, told MPR that while he initially sought civil commitment because he wanted treatment, he'd now "rather be dead than offend again." Timms said he tried to slit his wrists three months ago.
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at email@example.com.
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