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Sex offender to remain in custody

MONTEVIDEO -- Just one day shy of his release after serving 58 months in prison, convicted sex offender Steven Allen Housman, 54, of Montevideo has learned that he will remain in custody.

Chippewa County Sheriff Stacy Tufto received an order advising him that the State of Minnesota will seek Housman's civil commitment to the criminal se-xual treatment program in St. Peter.

The order arrived Tu-esday, just minutes be-fore the sheriff was to hold a meeting to let people in the Montevideo area know that the level-three sex offender was planning to return to the rural residence he had previously occupied.

His victims still live in the area and were "relieved" to hear the news that Housman was not to be released, Tufto said.

Housman is currently being held in the Chippewa County Jail. Tufto would have released him today were it not for the civil proceedings now being instigated. Instead, the sheriff said his officers will transport Housman to the secured facility in St. Peter.

He will remain in custody there while he is evaluated for purposes of the civil commitment. Ultimately, the matter will be heard in district court in Montevideo as to whether or not he can be committed. If he is not committed, Tufto said he would again hold a community meeting to alert the public of Housman's return.

Housman has completed his sentence for second-degree, criminal sexual conduct against a female under 7 years of age. He served the sentence at the state correction's facility in Rush City, where he received the third-degree criminal sexual designation. It represents an assessment that he is at a high risk of re-offending.

Housman had been charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against two victims, but the first-degree charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement in return for pleading guilty to second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

He has served a total of 12 years in prison including time served for a previous criminal sexual conduct conviction and for having violated terms of his probation, according to information that would have been reported at the community meeting. The meeting was not held due to the decision to pursue the civil commitment.