Clarence Joseph Opheim, 63, was released in March from a secure treatment facility in St. Peter, , and relocated to Damascus Way, a halfway house at 5730 Olson Memorial Highway, at the intersection of highways 100 and 55 in Golden Valley. Level three offenders, deemed the highest risk for re-offending, require broad public notification prior to release.
Golden Valley police had no contact with and received no calls about Opheim when he lived in the city. Police Chief Stacy Carlson said she did not know why Opheim left, and said those decisions were made by those in charge of his treatment program.
A community notification meeting about Opheim’s release was conducted March 5 in the auditorium at Perpich Center for the Arts, 6125 Olson Memorial Highway. More than 260 residents and representatives of the media attended.
Opheim, who is required to register as a predatory offender for life, was the first sexual predator court-ordered to be provisionally released from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program in many years.
He has a record of sexual conduct and contact with both male and female victims who knew him, and convictions dating back to 1969. Court documents detail Opheim’s 29 victims ages 8-17 in approximately 100 instances of sexual misconduct. He used manipulation, bribery, threats, physical force and a knife to gain compliance from his victims.
Opheim was last admitted to the Department of Corrections in February 1988 and was released in August 1992. A three-judge panel ordered him to be provisionally discharged to a halfway house. The court order included 32 conditions of supervision Opheim was required to follow, including wearing a GPS ankle bracelet, no cell phone, no computer use, and was subject to random drug and alcohol testing.
Dr. Sheila Brandt, a psychiatrist with the state, said in March that Damascus Way was chosen for Opheim’s relocation because it had a record of safe reintegration, had experience with high-risk offenders, and it had a good relationship with the police department and the community.
Kelley Esser, who has been working with Opheim for two years, said in March that he spent 1,500 hours in the community in St. Peter, all under supervision and all without incident.
As of Jan. 1, 2012, there were approximately 17,000 active predatory offenders registered in Minnesota.