On Thursday evening, a public meeting was at Crookston High School Auditorium to inform community members of the impending release of a level three sex offende

    On Thursday evening, a public meeting was at Crookston High School Auditorium to inform community members of the impending release of a level three sex offender. Approximately 25 people were in attendance, including a number of local law enforcement personnel.
    According to Mark Bliven, a representative from the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Dean Melvin Johnson will be released in Crookston on Monday, March 11. For the time being Johnson will be housed at the Polk County Jail, but will be able to come and go during the day to search for housing and work. Once he establishes a permanent address, the media will be notified.
    Johnson, who lived in Crookston prior to serving time in prison, is described as a 47-year-old white male, 5-foot-10 with a large build. He currently weighs 218 pounds, has thinning brown/gray hair, a mustache and blue eyes. Should he change in appearance, new photos will be taken and will be available at doc.state.mn.us.
    Johnson has 16 felony sex offense convictions stemming from the same set of circumstances in 2008. When arrested, he was in possession of multiple pornographic images of young girls. He was originally given probation with a stayed sentence. He did not comply with the requirements of his probation, meaning his sentence was instituted and he went to prison on February 17, 2011.
    Released on August 04, 2011 as a level 2 sex offender, Johnson failed to complete sex offender treatment and exhibited assaultive behavior, which led to a return to prison on September 28, 2012.
    Ninety days before his scheduled release date of March 11, 2013, Johnson's background was evaluated by the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Based on a number of factors, including his previous ability to integrate back into the community, Johnson was determined to be a level 3 sex offender, which is considered to have the highest risk of re-offense.
    Johnson will be strictly supervised during the remainder of his sentence, which is slated to end on August 05, 2016. He will be expected to find a place to live and to make good use of his time either working, attending treatment sessions, or gaining further education. According to Mark Bliven, " He is going to have to walk a very straight line," as he is monitored by local law enforcement, community members and three specially trained sex offender supervision officers.
    Johnson does, according to Bliven, "have the right to try to rebuild his life. He has the right to live and work free of harassment. He has served his time in prison and has earned supervised release as long as he complies with restrictions."
    These restrictions include:
    •    No direct or indirect contact with minors
    •    No access to alcohol
    •    Completion of sex offender, chemical dependency and anger management treatment
    •    No Internet access unless highly monitored
    •    No possession of  sexually explicit material
    •    Registration as a sex offender until at least March 10, 2023
    "We want Dean Johnson to become well-known in Crookston," said Bliven. "We want people to be aware of him and what his risk factors are. Police and supervising agents are only as strong as community communication networks. You are the most important safety person in the community."
    If you see Johnson and feel he may be acting suspiciously, do not hesitate to call the Crookston Police Department either by using 911, if officer assistance is needed, or call 281-3111 for general inquires. You may also contact one of Johnson's supervisory agents , Tim Murphy, Cody Underdahl or Craig Heminsen, at 1-877-272-7716.