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Four Level 3 sex offenders move to the East Side
Police speak to community concerns at July 31 meeting
Police have announced that four Level 3 sex offenders took up residence on the East Side of St. Paul between May and July:
• Tyrone Appleton, 55, moved into the 1200 block of Edgerton Street in St. Paul on July 8. Appleton was convicted of raping two adult women after breaking into their home in St. Paul and using force and a weapon to gain their compliance. He was not known to the victims.
• Markeith Branch, 33, moved into the 1200 block of Beech Street in St. Paul on June 10.
Branch was convicted of raping an 18-year old woman after breaking into her vehicle and threatening her. He was not known to the victim.
• Jason Lenarz, 43, moved in to the 1600 block of Minnehaha Avenue E. in St. Paul on July 1. Lenarz has a history of sexual contact with minor female victims (ages 10-12), including fondling and penetration. He was known to the victims.
• Robert Ziemann, 29, moved into the 1600 block of Minnehaha Avenue E. in St. Paul on May 30. Ziemann has a history of sexual contact with minor female victims (age 7-13), including fondling and penetration. He was known to the victims.
The offenders are not wanted by the police
A community notification meeting regarding the offenders was held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 31 at the St. Paul Police Department Eastern District Community Room, 722 Payne Ave.
The meeting was originally intended to address five Level 3 sex offenders, but the one offender recently decided not to move to the East Side.
Police are allowed to notify the entire community as well as parks and recreation centers, schools, churches and daycare facilities, when a Level 3 sex offender relocates to the community. Of the three levels of sex offenders, Level 3 offenders are those who are determined to have the highest risk of repeating their offenses.
About 60 people attended the meeting, says Officer Pat Daly of the St. Paul Police Sex Crimes Unit. Attendance was above average because there hadn’t been many offenders in those neighborhoods before, he says.
“Anytime that happens where (offenders move into) a new block or a new area of town that generates some new interest (from the community),” explains Officer Matt Toronto of the St. Paul Police Sex Crimes Unit.
At the meeting, the community raised concern over the number of Level 3 offenders moving into the area at one time, but Toronto attributes the number to nothing more than timing and coincidence.
“The numbers will fluctuate because for some reason this population of people tend to move around a lot,” he says.
“They move a lot because there’s not a lot of places that will allow Level 3 (offenders) to live there,” Daly explains.
A search on the Minnesota Department of Corrections website finds that 39 Level 3 offenders live in St. Paul, with 11 of them living on the East Side.
“It seems like we really hammer these neighborhoods over and over and over again, but a lot of the time it’s the same people (moving back to or around in the area),” Daly says.
One of the most frequent questions the officers address is “Why are they allowed to live here?”
The answer is simple: police do not have the right to determine where sex offenders live.
“Not the Saint Paul Police Department, the supervising release agent, nor the Minnesota Department of Corrections may direct where the offender does or does not reside, nor can these agencies direct where he works or goes to school,” states a document on the St. Paul city website. St. Paul does not place restrictions on where offenders can live, meaning that offenders are not required to live a set distance away from schools or daycare centers.
“We have to remind people, we don’t put anybody anywhere,” Toronto says.
What the police do is put the offenders under strict supervision.
All four offenders are on Intensive Supervised Release, a program that aims to protect the public by managing and intensely supervising offenders in the community. Aspects of the program include random and unannounced face-to-face contact by a supervisory agent, drug and alcohol testing, 40 hours per week of constructive activity (which includes work, education, training and treatment) and house arrest or curfew. Level 3 offenders remain on ISR until the end of their sentence.
More information about these and other sex offenders in Minnesota, including a Level 3 predatory offender search, is available to the public at http://www.doc.state.mn.us.
Toronto encourages East Side residents to direct their questions about sex offenders in the community to the St. Paul Police Department Sex Crimes/Predatory Offender Registration Unit at 651-266-5685.
Kaylin Creason can be reached at email@example.com or at 651-748-7825.