State officials set up a rental home in Mankato to house high-risk felons on parole and never informed the city or neighbors until the deal was done, according to a report published Sunday.

Corrections officials said the fears are misplaced and they don’t consider the house to be a group home because it doesn’t provide meals.

City officials told the Free Press newspaper that they believe the northwestern Minnesota pawnshop owner who owns the home violated Mankato ordinances regulating group homes, and they believe the Department of Corrections acted in bad faith by staying under the city’s radar.

“They should have disclosed to us what they were going to do with it before entering into a contract,” Community Development Director Paul Vogel said.

Ron Solheid, deputy commissioner for community services at the Department of Corrections, said maintaining the intense supervision that high-risk offenders require is all but impossible if the released inmate is homeless. At least one of the felons is a sex offender.

Terry Harrison, the Frazee pawnshop owner, told the newspaper he purchased the house specifically at the request of the Corrections Department.

The property is close to a day-care center, school bus stops and at least one adult foster-care home.

A 2007 study of sex offenders reoffending after release showed that their new crimes rarely had any connection to the neighborhood where they lived.

Associated Press