Steven Andrew Welch, 37, was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in prison for failure to abide by predatory offender registration law, Morrison County Attorney Brian Middendorf reported.
Welch was sentenced by Judge Conrad Freeberg on Dec. 14 in Morrison County District Court. He pleaded guilty to Failure of Predatory Offender to Register on Oct. 19.
Assistant Morrison County Attorney Todd Kosovich stated the one year and one day sentence is mandatory for the first such offense. Welch was required to register since 2005, when he was released from prison. Welch was sentenced to 42 months in prison following his conviction of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree in Morrison County.
“The law requires a person to report any changes in address at least five days before that changed,” Kosovich said in a news release. “Welch didn’t even come close.”
In May, Pierz Police Chief Paul Tschida discovered that Welch did not live at his registered address and had moved out in March. Sgt. Jeremy Luberts of the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office took over the investigation. The complaint noted Luberts “spoke to Welch on the telephone on June 8, 2011. Initially, Welch claimed that he was still living in Pierz. Welch then claimed he was living in the city of Rice with his girlfriend. However, Welch could not provide the address in Rice where he was living. Nor could he accurately give the name of his girlfriend.”
Middendorf said those who are registered and fail to follow the law go to prison.
“Each time it gets worse, first offense: one year, second offense: two years and so on,” Middendorf said the sheriff’s office and the Pierz and Little Falls police departments take registration matters very seriously. “We have to take registration matters very seriously because the public needs to know where predatory offenders are located.”