Britain's High Court found that Minnesota's civil commitment program for some sexual offenders is draconian and that the indefinite detention of people found to be "sexually dangerous violates human rights. That finding served, at least in part, as the basis to deny an extradition request that sought to return a man accused of sex crimes to Minnesota.
The man, a dual U.S.-Irish citizen, is accused of criminal sexual conduct offenses in Hennepin and Dakota counties dating back to the 1990s. Authorities in Dakota County accuse the 43-year-old man of sexually assaulting two 11-year-old girls in Eagan in 1993. Hennepin County authorities claim that the man sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl in Bloomington in 1994.
Minnesota authorities claim the man fled the country during the 1990s as prosecutors prepared to file criminal sexual conduct charges against him. Officials believe that the man fled to Ireland. Prosecutors claim that the man moved to London at some point, and used an Irish passport that identified him under a Gaelic spelling of his last name. Two years ago, authorities reportedly found the man in London, and U.S. officials sought to return him to Minnesota for prosecution of the alleged sex offenses.
The British courts reportedly appeared willing to grant the extradition request, but Minnesota's laws include a civil commitment procedure aimed at people who have an alleged sexual psychopathic personality or are allegedly sexually dangerous. Britain's High court found that if the judges granted the extradition request, there would be a real risk that the man could be subjected to civil commitment. The judges found that the Minnesota civil commitment program would be a flagrant denial of the man's human rights.
The judges reportedly were inclined to grant extradition to allow the man to face the criminal sexual conduct charges, but asked official in the U.S. for a guarantee that prosecutors would not seek civil commitment under the sexually dangerous treatment program. The high court dropped the extradition proceedings when U.S> officials did not provide any such guarantee.
Currently, 641 people have been civilly committed under the treatment program for sexual offenders. A 64-year-old man reportedly gained a provisional discharge from the indefinite program earlier this year. That was the first provisional discharge from the program in more than a decade. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the only person released from the program (more than a decade ago) did not last long. That person was reportedly taken back into custody soon after the provisional release for an alleged violation.
Authorities say that the 43-year-old man will not be extradited to Minnesota and officials expected his release from home monitoring in London last week.
Authorities say that if the man returns to Minnesota, he will be arrested on a warrant for the criminal sexual conduct charges.
Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press, "UK court blocks Eagan sex-crimes suspect's extradition," Maricella Miranda, June 28, 2012