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Moose Lake sex offender pleads guilty to attempted murder

George Mack Jr.

A Minnesota Sex Offender Program client admitted this week to attempting to kill a staff member at a secure treatment facility in Moose Lake last month.

George Mack Jr., 42, pleaded guilty to felony counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder and fourth-degree assault at a hearing Monday in State District Court in Carlton.

Authorities said Mack slashed a counselor's throat with a razor blade in the Jan. 29 incident, which state Human Services Commissioner Tony Lourey described as "one of the most serious attacks of this sort we've seen in the history of this program."

Court documents indicate Mack approached clinician Zachary Campbell from behind and made two slashing motions at his throat as Campbell was leading a group session. Mack allegedly used an improvised weapon consisting of a razor blade fastened to a toothbrush with dental floss and a rubber band.

The severity of Campbell's injuries was not detailed in court documents, other than disclosing that he suffered two cuts but was able to speak with investigators afterward. According to a criminal complaint, the employee was able to avoid more serious injuries by lowering his head and escaping. Mack allegedly gave chase and repeatedly punched another worker before being subdued.

Authorities said video captured the incident, and Mack admitted to it, telling investigators he ran after Campbell while shouting, "I'm the boss," because he was upset about an interaction a day earlier.

Court records show Mack has a dangerous and violent past — both in and out of custody.

He was convicted of multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct in Fillmore County, in southeastern Minnesota, in the late 1990s. After serving a prison sentence, he was civilly committed as a "sexually dangerous person" in 2010.

While in prison or the secure treatment facility, Mack has been convicted in at least five other assault cases, court records show.

Lourey, in an interview with the News Tribune, called the recent attack a "very traumatic event for many people, particularly those two staff who were most directly involved."

A longtime state representative for the area who was just weeks into his new job overseeing the Department of Human Services, Lourey said the facility was fully staffed and that other employees took prompt action to keep the situation under control. But he added that the agency would complete a full review of the incident and security protocols.

"It's a powerful reminder of how important and often dangerous these jobs are," he said at the time. "This is a secure treatment environment. It can be really challenging."

Mack continues to be held at the Carlton County Jail. Sixth Judicial District Judge Leslie Beiers scheduled sentencing for March 8.