State may release man convicted of knife-point rape and another who molested 30 children

Minnesota's sex offender program was created in 1994, but since then only two men have been released from its Moose Lake facility.
Minnesota's sex offender program was created in 1994, but since then only two men have been released from its Moose Lake facility.
State of Minnesota

State officials have taken heat from all over the world for Minnesota's 19-year-old sex offender treatment program, which currently houses nearly 700 inmates in a facility in Moose Lake but has released only two offenders -- ever.

SEE ALSO: Hennepin County jailer died after attack by mentally ill, HIV-infected inmate

The state may soon double that number. A Department of Human Services board recently recommended the release of two offenders, meaning all that stands between them and some degree of freedom is final approval from a state Supreme Court appeals panel.

But each man's extensive and in some cases brutal criminal history raises concerns they could offend again. A Star Tribune report provides more information about the two offenders in question, 57-year-old Thomas Duvall and 47-year-old Kirk Fugelseth:

Duvall was convicted of raping a 17-year-old Brooklyn Park girl at knife point in 1987 just after completing a prison term for a separate rape conviction, records show.

Fugelseth has admitted to molesting more than 30 boys and girls from ages 3 to 14. In 1997, he admitted that he had been molesting his girlfriend's 9-year-old daughter for months after he moved to Moorhead, records show. His first sex crime conviction followed a 1993 charge for sexually molesting two boys in Oregon. In 2003, Clay County asked the court to have him civilly committed, claiming he was a danger to the community...

Both Duvall and Fugelseth have undergone years of treatment. Duvall, now 57, was living in a Minneapolis halfway house in 1987, when one day after Christmas, he coaxed a Brooklyn Park teenager into letting him into her apartment, saying he needed to use the telephone. Records show he tied her to a bed and terrorized her for more than three hours, sexually assaulting her with a hammer and a curling iron.

Fugelseth, 47, admitted that he sexually victimized more than 30 children starting when he was 14. For more than two decades, he would gain the trust of children with gifts and favors over time, and then violate them, court records show. He held a position of authority over many of his victims and he continued to reoffend even when he was on probation or receiving treatment for past sexual offenses, records show.

If released, Fugelseth would be subject to continued supervision by the state program, GPS monitoring, frequent visits, and covert surveillance, while Duvall would be sent to a St. Paul halfway house that successfully helped an offender who was released last year transition to life outside the walls of the Moose Lake Facility, the Strib reports.

News that the state is moving toward releasing the two offenders comes just weeks after an inmate who had been committed to the Moose Lake facility since 2007 killed himself. Inmates who spoke to the media in the wake of the incident said suicide attempts there are common, in part because offenders have little reason to believe they'll ever be released back into society.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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