Hawkins’ criminal history involves 3-year-old girl, female minors

    Minnesota Department of Corrections Director of Risk Assessment and Community Notification Mark Bliven addressed the Crookston community Tuesday evening in the CHS auditorium after word that a level three sex offender would be working in the area after being released from prison. Jonah James Hawkins, 24, was released from prison in late April and is said to be working in Crookston, but living in rural Halstad.

    Hawkins has a history of sexual contact with a three-year-old female victim whom he was associated with and has prior history of sexual contact with additional female minor victims.

    When Hawkins was 17-years-old, he received a probationary sentence for engaging in sexual conduct with a three-year-old in Cass County, North Dakota. He was accused a second time of second degree sexual conduct with the same victim in Norman County, Minnesota in 2009 and was sentenced under extended juvenile jurisdiction. In 2012, he had a probation violation and was sentenced as an adult to a 36-month sentence. He has admitted to additional juvenile sexual misconduct involving minors.

    "He is registered in Norman County, but is currently working in the Crookston area," said Bliven. "Hawkins will be on a strict schedule and always has to check in with an agent. He is not allowed in bars or to have any direct or indirect contact with minors."

    "He's also not allowed to simply go for a walk in some area," Bliven added. "If you see him out in the community, it's okay for you to call and ask law enforcement questions. He will be on electronic home monitoring for the first 30-60 days so don't expect to run into him a whole lot."  

    A member of the supervision team added later, "He is on GPS (tracking) and has been complaint."

    Hawkins is required to be registered until April 22, 2025 and will be under correctional supervision until October 1, 2023. His supervision team includes Cody Underdahl, Craig Hemmingsen, Tom Murphy and Jeremy Rychlock.  

    Since July 1, 1991, predatory offenders in Minnesota have been required to register their addresses with local law enforcement agencies, who then forward the information to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which maintains a database that can be used by the law enforcement agencies.

    Risk levels are assigned to predatory offenders when they get out of prison. Level 1 is the lowest public risk, Level 2 is a moderate public risk and Level 3 is the highest public risk.

    "We look at them (the offenders) three months before they get out and look at their entire history," said Bliven. "Once they are assessed, we send the information to local law enforcement and it is their responsibility on how and if they notify the public."

    "Level 1 information is not shared, Level 2 - they do some research before deciding and Level 3 is a broader outreach and a community notification meeting for the public," he added.

    As of January 1, 2015, there were 343 Level 3 offenders living in Minnesota. Hawkins is the only one who is currently working, not living, in Crookston and is the only one in Polk County.

    "When we look at risk factors, we look at an offender's felony sentences, their age at the time of release, predatory sentences, harassment or stalking risks, if they will be unsupervised, if they've completed treatment, disorderly conduct risks and if their sentences include male victims," explained Bliven.

    "It's not that female victims are less important, but there is higher risk to reoffend if the victim(s) were male," he added.

Q&A

    During the Q&A portion of the Community Notification meeting, only a few audience members asked questions. One person asked, "Could he move to Crookston?" and was answered by Bliven who said, "Yes, it's a possibility. The supervision team would look it over and decide. If he does, law enforcement would make a decision on how to notify it."

    Another question was, "Do all sex offenders have to register or just Level 3?" They were reassured that all levels 1-3 are required to register.

    "On a quarterly basis, the Crookston Police Department knocks on offenders' doors and asks the proper questions to keep them compliant," said Crookston Police Lieutenant Darin Selzler.

    "We build a relationship with them and they get used to us," added CPD Chief Paul Biermaier. "Because of those relationships, we can pick up if something is amidst or figure out what's normal and what's not normal."

    Assessment Director Bliven added, "Minnesota has a great system and the most important public safety officials are everyone in this room. It does not work without community members."

    To report criminal activity by this offender or any other individual, please call 911. The Crookston Police Department can be reached at 281-3111 or Mr. Hawkin's Supervision Team can be reached at 1-877-272-7716.