Security precautions help allay community fears This coming week, Level 3 predatory offender Christopher Cody Johnson, 26, will be released by the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) into the town of Olivia where he is set to reside on Maple East Ave. This past Wednesday, an informational meeting was held by the Olivia Police Department in conjunction with the DOC to provide details about Johnson, the conditions of his release and an overview of the rules regulating predatory offenders in Minnesota. Approximately two dozen individuals turned out for the meeting, which was facilitated by DOC Community Notification Coordinator Sarah Hustad. Hustad acknowledged the natural discomfort of the community in regard to the situation, and suggested open lines of communication and community education was essential.

“I don’t want you to focus on one individual,” said Hustad. “Offenders are everywhere. They have always lived around us, and they always will. It’s a conversation we need to be having continually all the time.” Criminal sex in Minnesota Hustad provided an overview of the history of criminal sex law in the state, noting the establishment of offender registration in 1991 for individuals convicted, charged, or adjudicated delinquent for crimes of criminal sexual conduct, any sexual conduct involving a minor including possession of child pornography, kidnapping and false imprisonment. A more concerted effort to keep an eye on predatory offenders came about as a result of the Jacob Wetterling kidnapping.

With the Wetterling situation, the public became aware there were sex offenders who had been convicted but because of a lack of notification, no one knew who they were. That realization led to passage of the Community Notification Act in 1997. The Act established risk levels for those who had been convicted of certain offenses ranging from Level 1-3, with the third level being the highest public risk and one being the lowest. According to Hustad, level 3 offenses trigger a clause requiring broad community notification when an offender reenters a community. The notification is released through the public registrant website, a public notification meeting, media releases, the DOC website, social media and door-to-door flyers.

As of Jan. 1 of this year, Hustad said there are approximately 17,680 predatory offenders registered in Minnesota. As of May 2, 35 are registered in Renville County, with 10 residing in Olivia. For perspective, 87 registrants are located in Kandiyohi County while 52 are in Redwood County. Of importance to note, Hustad said, was of the 2,535 sex offenders released between 2003 and 2006 only 3.3 percent have been reconvicted. Christopher Johnson As a level-3 offender, Johnson, who stands 5’11,’’ 202 pounds with brown hair, is getting the highest potential exposure due to the risk of repeat offense. According to information at the meeting, Johnson has both adult and juvenile convictions for sexual contact with adolescent female victims and a history of chemical abuse. He has multiple convictions of varying degrees, with first degree convictions indicative of the most severe crimes and 5th degree charges representing the least. Johnson was first convicted in 2007 at the age of 16 for Criminal Sexual Conduct of the 1st Degree involving an adolescent female in Renville County.

In 2010, at the age of 18, he was convicted again of Criminal Sexual Conduct, this time in the 5th degree, from an incident involving a developmentally disabled 16 year old female. In 2013, he was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender in Kandiyohi County. And then in 2015, he was charged with his most recent Criminal Sexual Conduct crime, a 3rd Degree incident involving a 17-year-old female in Redwood County. In every single situation of abuse, Johnson was known to the victim. ISR release Because of the danger of repeat offense, Johnson is being released under Intensive Supervised Release ISR) and will remain under such supervision until Nov. 6, 2026. ISR, Hustad said, provides Johnson structure and accountability. Elements of ISR include house arrest; electronic monitoring; random drug/alcohol testing; unannounced residential/work; strict schedules detailing his location outside the home; daily check-ins and both chemical dependency and sex offender treatment. Johnson is also restricted from possessing sexually explicit materials and any alcoholic/illicit substances. Additionally, he must obtain and maintain full-time work/training schedule, has restricted use of the internet and is prohibited from having contact with minors or past victims. Johnson was released under ISR into Redwood County in 2014 until March of 2015.

At that point, the ISR provisions were removed and later that year he would offend again, receiving the 3rd degree criminal sex charges previously mentioned. With the new ISR timeline extending to 2026, Johnson will be kept on a tight leash for a much longer period of time. The hope, Hustad says, is for him to complete all of his requirements of his release so that he may again become a contributing member to the community. Furthermore, Hustad said in terms of threats, the most likely danger will not come from one of the existing registered sex offenders, but an individual not yet on the radar. As such, she encouraged community members to stay vigilant in regard to potential crimes and urged the community not hesitate to report suspicious activity to the Olivia Police Department by dialing 911 or 523-2700. “This is a safe community,” said Hustad. “I can always tell safe communities because people talk to each other.” More information about predatory offenders can be found online on the department of corrections Web site at www.doc.state.mn.us.