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Serial rapist cleared for release from Minn. Sex Offender Program

September 19, 2018

The states highest court has upheld a lower courts decision to release of serial rapist Thomas Ray Duvall, who has spent more than 30 years locked up for a series of brutal rapes of teenage girls in the 1970s and 1980s.

In a one-sentence ruling Tuesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court declined to review a petition by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to review the case of Duvall, whose petition for conditional discharge from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) had been approved in July by a three-judge state appeals court panel.

The decision brings to a formal close a five-year legal battle over the future of Duvall, 63, one of the most violent and high-profile sex offenders in state history.

In 1978, Duvall was convicted of raping a 17-year-old girl whom he picked up at the State Fair after promising to drive her home. After being released on parole, he sexually assaulted a young woman at knifepoint whom he found walking to a bus stop. Just three days after his release for that crime, in 1982, Duvall raped two girls, ages 14 and 15, while threatening them with a shotgun.

Then in 1987, just 12 days after being released from prison, Duvall talked his way into a Brooklyn Park apartment, bound a 17-year-old girl with an electric cord and then repeatedly raped her over a three-hour period while hitting her in the face with a hammer. Duvall admitted to the assault and later testified that he was sexually aroused from me causing her pain, according to court documents.

Out of a deep concern for public safety, I have adamantly opposed and repeatedly challenged this decision at every turn. Ultimately, this was the courts decision, not mine, and I respect that authority, said Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper in a statement Wednesday. Now that all appeals have been exhausted, we will carefully supervise and monitor Mr. Duvall.

Duvall is expected to be released this fall to a secure group home in the Twin Cities operated by Zumbro House Inc., after community members are notified by law enforcement. Under terms of his provisional discharge plan, he would live under 24-hour surveillance and would be required to wear a global positioning device.

Chris Serres 612-673-4308 Twitter: @chrisserres

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