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Sex Offender Draws Neighbors' Ire

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KASOTA, Minn. -

The Le Sueur County Sheriff's Office hosts a Level 3 Predatory Offender notification meeting in Kasota for 47-year-old Gregory Eugene Ward.
 
Ward will be released from prison next Monday, September 24th, and will move to the 33-thousand Block of State Highway 99, east of St. Peter.
 
It was a tough crowd in Kasota as Department of Corrections officials fill them in on the sex offender that will move in next week.

Gregory Eugene has an extensive criminal history - attempted rape in '85, indecent exposure in '85 and '90, and then in 1994:
 
Michele Murphy with the MN Department of Corrections says, "He engaged in sexual contact with a 7 year old female victim on multiple occasions. The contact involved fondling and asking for sex. He used force to gain compliance and was known to this victim."

For that crime, Ward avoided prison, but received a stayed sentence, though after another indecent exposure conviction in '96, and going on the run from the law for 14 years before being caught in 2010, he did serve just under two years in prison.

Those in the audience objected to his release to a home along Highway 99 east of St. Peter, worried about both the families with small children, and the students that use that route for athletic training.

"You keep talking about neighborhood crime network. There is no neighborhood there. Nobody knows who comes and goes. You're going to have contact with his friends? Is someone going to be there to see who's coming and going? Because there is no neighbor to do that. If he grabs a young runner at five in the morning, he's on his own property. Who's going to know?"

Ward had already had difficulty finding a place to live once he gets out of prison, with three separate addresses in Mankato not working out for undisclosed reasons, and this move is drawing ire as well.