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Bricelyn residents express concerns

By Staff | Oct 7, 2018

The five state and county officials answering questions from Bricelyn residents included, left to right, Faribault County Sheriff Mike Gormley, County Attorney Kathryn Karjala-Curtis, Chief Deputy Scott Adams, Minnesota Department of Corrections representative Sarah Hustad and Deputy Investigator Mark Purvis.

Close to 50 residents of Bricelyn attended a Level 3 predatory sex offender public informational meeting last Tuesday evening at the Bricelyn Community Center.

There they learned about a Level 3 offender, Brian Michael Vorce, who had moved into the Bricelyn community on Sept. 21.

Many residents had questions about how and why this had happened.

The meeting was sponsored by the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office, and included a 45-minute presentation from Sarah Hustad, Community Notification Coordinator from the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Hustad said Vorce has had three adult convictions. In 1993 he was convicted of sexually touching a 13-year-old girl after coercing her to remove her clothing and get into bed with him, and sexual touching and penetration of a 14-year-old girl.

He was sentenced to one year, six months, in prison plus three years probation, but went back to prison in 1998 when he violated probation.

In 1999 he was convicted of sexually touching and penetration of an 8-year-old girl and sentenced to seven years, two months in prison.

He also had a burglary/theft charge in 1997, Hustad said.

Vorce has been out of prison and living in various Minnesota communities since July 26, 2013, Hustad said.

“He is not under direct correctional department supervision,” Hustad said. “He is free to live where he wants, able to work, and go about his life and be free from harassment.”

All he needs to do is register with local law enforcement and give them his name, address, place of employment, car description and a few other details.

Faribault County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Scott Adams said that while the state does not directly supervise the person, the local sheriff’s office does.

“We keep track of all the registered offenders in the county,” Adams said. “At least three times a week we look at the current list and check them out. I guess you could say we are stalking them.”

Adams added that if they detect any kind of non-compliance, they immediately arrest the individual. He said he wanted to assure the people of Bricelyn and the county that they do keep track of these individuals.

“We hold these meetings to inform the public and give them the full information,” Adams said. “State law allows us to inform the public when a Level 3 offender moves into the community.”

Residents questioned why Vorce was allowed to move to Bricelyn and why the sheriff’s office allowed it to happen without asking the community.

“We don’t set this up,” Adams said. “The person makes a choice to move here, because of some reason, like housing. Then we are informed, and we turn around and hold a public meeting like this.”

Adams said the sheriff’s office was not told of the move until after it happened.

“We found out last Wednesday,” Adams said. “We wanted time to get the word out to the press about this meeting, that is why it is tonight and not last week.”

Adams said their office is usually notified at least a week before the move, sometimes even a month ahead, but that did not happen this time, for some reason.

Many citizens expressed concerns and asked about Vorce’s ability to be in places where children are.

“Mr. Vorce is allowed to go where he wants to go, there are no restrictions,” Hustad said. “However, if you see some inappropriate behavior you should report it to the sheriff’s office. But do not interact.”

Sheriff Mike Gormley said his wants the citizens of the county to report any suspicious behavior anywhere, not just with this subject.

“You are our eyes and ears out in the towns,” Gormley said. “You see something that is not right, call us and we will investigate.”

Hustad said that the public should be more concerned about the dangerous people not on any list. She said 97 percent of known offenders don’t re-offend.

“We teach our children about stranger-danger,” Hustad said. “But we need to teach them instead how to be safe. The predators are often not strangers, but someone the child knows.”

She gave a list of resources for parents to use to practice safety in the family. One of those was “stopitnow.org/mn” and the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center at “jwrc.org.”

Hustad said that there are 17,644 registered offenders in the state of Minnesota (Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3). There are 51 of those living in Faribault County, 167 in Blue Earth County, 103 in Martin County.

There are now five Level 3 predatory offenders in Faribault County. There are four in Freeborn County and two in Martin County.

She also pointed out that in January of 2023, Vorce will go off the list of persons required to register, as he will have served his 10 year period of time of having to register.