Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman once declared that he wanted repeat sex offender Matthew Reinitz "off the streets for the rest of his life" for taking a blowtorch and a knife to a prostitute while raping her in a northeast Minneapolis home.

Still his office accepted a plea deal that means less than 20 years in prison for the 37-year-old Reinitz, whose trial had been scheduled to begin Monday.

Reinitz's attorney on Tuesday suggested Freeman may still get his wish if Reinitz later enters indefinite state confinement for sex offender treatment, a move the defense expects the state to push for at the end of his client's prison term.

Reinitz, of Mound, agreed to plead guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the torture-filled rape on Dec. 4, 2015, that sent the bloodied and sobbing woman fleeing to a nearby church. Other related felony counts are being dismissed, and Reinitz remains jailed ahead of formal sentencing June 8.

The plea agreement takes a potential sentence of life without parole off the table.

"Mr. Reinitz has been convicted of a previous sexual assault," Freeman said in a statement issued in October, when his office added assault and false imprisonment charges against the defendant. "He is a threat to public safety and needs to be taken off the streets for the rest of his life if we can prove his guilt."

The deal calls for a 30-year term, with credit for time served since his arrest in late September. That means Reinitz will serve roughly 19⅔ years in prison and the balance of his term on supervised release.

However, Reinitz's time in prison could end up being several years longer because prosecutors will ask that this sentence be added to the nine years he has remaining on his earlier rape conviction, rather than have the time served concurrently, said Chuck Laszewski, spokesman for the county attorney.

Also, authorities have the option to seek prisonlike confinement of Reinitz into the state's sex offender program upon leaving prison and for him to remain there until he's deemed safe to return to society. Only one offender has been fully released without conditions from the program since it was established in 1994, and that occurred last year.

Defense attorney Bryan Leary said he anticipates the state indeed "will try to have him committed" once Reinitz leaves prison.

In any event, Leary continued, avoiding life without parole offers Reinitz hope that he'll someday have "an opportunity to return later to civilized society. Maybe the distance and time and forgiveness and healing will find that he is a changed individual."

From the prosecution's perspective, the plea deal spared "the victim from having to go through the difficulty of a trial and reliving what happened to her," Laszewski said.

According to police, officers were called to the church on Fillmore Street NE. and met a sobbing woman who was bleeding from the neck. She said she met Reinitz at an apartment after he responded to her online sex ad.

He tied up her hands and legs and, for a while, had a mask on her face. He repeatedly raped her, at one point burning her with a blowtorch. He stabbed her twice, at least once in the neck. The woman pleaded for her freedom. He gave her a towel and her clothes, and she fled out the door.

Reinitz was linked to the assault through a match with DNA that authorities had on file from a 2003 rape, which also occurred in Hennepin County. In that case, Reinitz responded to an ad a woman posted for massage therapy. When she arrived at his home, he threatened her with a gun, choked and raped her. 

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482