All mothers of victims, each view unique

  • Article by: LARRY OAKES , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 7, 2008 - 10:55 PM

These Minnesota mothers came to their views on sex offenders by the most painful route possible:

"I don't have a problem civilly committing anyone after their sentence," said Connie Larson, whose 12-year-old daughter, Cally Jo, was raped and killed by an intruder in their Waseca home in 1999. Lorenzo Sanchez confessed and is serving a life sentence. Connie Larson said he apparently had served a prison term in Mexico.

A social worker with the Minnesota Valley Action Council, Larson emerged from the experience as an activist. She has served on the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission since 2001.

"If they're done with prison or jail and they're assessed as still being dangerous to society, what else are you going to do with them?" Larson said. "If they're psychopathic or sociopathic or whatever, they shouldn't be getting out."

•••

Dru Sjodin's mother, Linda Walker, said she'd like to see criminal justice changes that would make civil commitment unnecessary.

"I don't necessarily agree with civil commitment," she said, "but that's the only alternative when sentences are too short and prosecutors do too much plea bargaining."

The 2003 abduction and killing of Sjodin, a college student, by released rapist Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. resulted in a sharp increase in civil commitments.

"I wouldn't want anyone to be committed wrongly," Walker said. "But I don't lose sleep over who's getting committed or confined. I lean more towards [protecting] the child victim than the predator."

•••

Julie Holmquist probably couldn't have been saved by tougher penalties or civil commitment.

Her suspected killer, Curtiss Dale Cedergren, had no serious criminal record when he fatally shot himself in 2002 on his farm.

The 16-year-old Hallock girl was abducted from a rural highway where she was roller-blading in July 1998. Her body was found weeks later in a gravel pit. She had been sexually assaulted.

Clarice Holmquist, Julie's mother, said she had no opinion on civil commitment. "It wouldn't have been a factor in this case," she said.

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