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Judge orders review of MSOP patients

ST. PAUL—On Feb. 20, Federal Judge Donovan Frank wrote in a ruling that state lawmakers need to take action now. His comments came in a ruling in which he refused to dismiss a lawsuit by patients of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program that claims they are being held unconstitutionally.

Frank also ordered experts to interview each of the program’s nearly 700 patients, in state hospitals in St. Peter and Moose Lake. He said he needs those experts’ opinions before he can rule in the case.

“If the evidence requires it, the court will act,” Frank wrote. “But it is the Minnesota Legislature that is best equipped to develop policies and pass laws — within the limits of the Constitution — that both protect public safety and preserve the rights of the class.”

He added: “The time for legislative action is now.”

In Frank’s Thursday ruling, he brought up the possibility that patients could be released.

Minnesota has one of the largest and most expensive sex offender populations in the country.

Legislators have been looking into how to allow sex offenders to receive medical and mental treatment and eventually be able to be released. At the same time, legislators say the public must be protected.