CROSBY - A week after learning a Level 3 sex offender would be moving to Trommald, more than 70 Cuyuna Range residents got a chance Thursday to learn the facts and speak their minds about his release.
Matthew Sean Salinas, 34, will be released Monday from Lino Lakes prison to a residence in Trommald. He is a Crow Wing County resident and has lived in the Trommald house previously. Officials declined to say whose house it was or if someone else was living with Salinas.
For at least the first year he will be under intense supervised supervision, including random spot checks, urine or breath analysis and constant global positioning satellite monitoring. He will be required to register as a sexual offender until 2017.
"We're going to monitor him where ever he goes," said Gary Lawson, one of four Minnesota Department of Corrections supervision agents who will be monitoring Salinas. "He can't do anything with out one of us approving."
Matthew Sean Salinas will reside in Trommald after he is released Monday from Lino Lakes prison. Salinas, a Level 3 sex offender, was convicted of abusing boys.
Salinas was convicted in 1993 of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with a 12-year-old male and received probation. In 1994, he was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and received 220 months prison. Seven months after his release in February 2007, his probation was revoked after it was learned he was using the Internet to chat with children.
On Thursday, in a packed Crosby City Hall, Minnesota Department of Corrections staffers, members of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department and several other law enforcement representatives from the Cuyuna Range area gave a presentation on Salinas' release from prison, sex offenders in general and what the public can do to keep safe.
Michele Murphy of the Department of Corrections noted in Salinas' case, he knew his victims well and used his authority over them to take advantage of the boys.
"We know it happens a lot and we know it happens by those we know and trust," Murphy said.
Murphy told the crowd that harassing Salinas could lead to a change in state statute, meaning no one would know when a Level 3 sex offender is moving into their city.
"Matthew Sean Salinas is allowed by law to live in this community. He has the right like you and me to go to the movies, grocery shop, go to the bank, to go to the video store, pretty much do what's allowed for him under his supervision," Murphy said. "He has the right not to be harassed. Vigilantism causes problems. We need to accept that sex offenders are among us and always will be among us."
In fact, there are 179 registered sex offenders in Crow Wing County, Murphy noted.
During the question and answer period that followed Murphy's presentation, several residents questioned the notification process, what residents should do if they see Salinas near children and whether Salinas would be getting a job.
Some offered their own opinions. One man said sex offenders would be put to death if he were in charge. Another woman said she isn't concerned about Salinas' well being, but her children's. Another person questioned whether with the last name of Salinas if he was born in the United States.
Crosby resident Rita Meyer asked several questions of DOC staffers. A single mother of two children, she was upset when she learned Salinas would be moving to Trommald.
"To be honest with you, when I read about it in the (Crosby) Courier I got sick to my stomach," Meyer said. She's talked to her children about what to do if they are approached by strangers or touched in a improper way and she said she planned on taking information from the DOC presentation to educate them further.
Trommald residents Greg and Crystal Nichols live within sight of Salinas' residence. They also have two young children and have talked to them about what to do if they are threatened.
Greg Nichols said he's often worried about having a Level 3 sex offender living so close.
"I get up all through the night and look out the window, sit there and watch his house for a while, go back to bed, get up again and watch his house and go back to bed," Greg Nichols said.
At the very least, Thursday's presentation gave the Nichols' contact information in case they observe suspicious behavior from Salinas, he said.
Murphy asked those in attendance to have faith in the DOC supervision agents who will be monitoring Salinas.
"They work really, really hard and are on top of these people like crazy," Murphy said. "I know it's very hard to hear all this stuff and it's very overwhelming.
"I want everyone to think about what can I do make our community safer. Really it's about banding together, educating each other and keeping a watch on everybody around you."
Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl said deputies would be sending out fliers on Salinas to residents before he moves to Trommald.
Historically, sex offenders were released into communities without notification until the Community Notification Act went into effect in 1997.
Information on Level 3 predatory offenders is listed online with the Minnesota Department of Corrections Web site at www.doc.state.mn.us/level3/search.asp. According to a search at the DOC Web site Wednesday, there were no Level 3 predatory offenders residing in Crow Wing County.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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