Commitment hearing reset for June 10

GAYLORD – A one-day, contested hearing for 24-year-old Registered Sex Offender Cedrick S. Ince, formerly held in the Sibley County Jail, was rescheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 10.

Sibley County District Court Judge Tom McCarthy granted Mankato attorney Ryan Magnus’ request to continue the matter for several weeks Wednesday.

“We’re asking for time to gather more information from witnesses we feel can significantly benefit Cedrick Ince,” Magnus said.

Ince was moved to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) Moose Lake while awaiting a ruling on whether or not he should remain civilly committed.

On April 21, the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed Ince’s commitment to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program and sent the case back to Sibley County District Court to determine his path forward.

The Supreme Court maintained previous rulings requiring that sex offenders must be found to be “highly likely” to re-offend before courts civilly commit them to the state’s secure treatment program, an issue being constitutionally challenged in federal court and debated in the Legislature.

Judges need to make formal findings of fact on whether less restrictive treatment programs are available, according to high court justices.

Only two men have ever been released from the sex offender program on any kind of provisional discharge.

Supreme Court Justice Alan Page said the Legislature created “a single one-size-fits-all” system without adequate facilities and treatment programs, and has failed to provide less restrictive alternatives.

On September 21, 2011, Sibley County petitioned to civilly commit Ince as a sexually-dangerous person (SDP) and a sexual psychopathic personality (SPP). Ince was 21 at the time and one day away from his scheduled intensive supervised release from the Lino Lakes Correctional Facility.

The petition detailed Ince’s two criminal sexual conduct convictions and his history of alcohol abuse, prior treatment, psychological reports, and placements.

Ince has two criminal-sexual-conduct convictions, both stemming from incidents involving alcohol and victims close to his age at the time of the offenses. In February 2007, when Ince was 17, he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl after she passed out on a couch at a party, according to court documents.

Three weeks after he pleaded guilty to amended 5th degree criminal sexual conduct and was ordered to undergo a sex offender assessment, Ince was adjudicated delinquent and placed on probation in Waseca County District Court.

Three weeks later, Ince violated his probation by breaking into a 19-year-old woman’s house and sexually assaulted her. The victim told police she awoke on Oct. 5, 2008 to find Ince on top of her. He choked her, making her unable to breathe, before he sexually assaulted her, according to court documents.

Before leaving, he threatened to shoot the victim if she called police.

The Scott County Attorney’s Office charged Ince, then 18, with 1st degree burglary, 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct and domestic assault by strangulation. In August 2009, he pleaded guilty to 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to a downward departure of 48 months in prison, a 10-year conditional-release term, and required to register as a Predatory Offender.

Ince told authorities he identified himself as an alcoholic who began drinking when he was 15 and drank daily after high school graduation.

In 2009, he claimed to drink to the point of “blacking out” weekly, experimented with various drugs and possessed cocaine on school property in October 2006, according to court documents.

Mankato attorney Ken White said earlier this spring in Sibley County District Court that Ince has improved his behavior and should be allowed supervised release to certain family members or to a Sibley County farm where he worked.

Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Noah Cashman disagreed, saying Ince was a public risk and should be returned to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program in Moose Lake.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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