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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Only a Few Years of Probation and Registration for Woodbury Man with Library of Child Porn



Steven Rask
In September of 2016, police conducted a search warrant of 9669 Bluegill Road Woodbury. The unassuming home near Target in Woodbury was owned and occupied by Steven Donald Rask. It is unknown if he continues to live here. The police found over 150 documents of child porn on multiple computers and hard drives. He appeared to cooperate with police and explained how he typically searched for his expanding collection of child porn on the dark web. The investigation took almost two years to go through all the child porn to determine the extent of the case. According to the criminal complaint, 41 of the child victims were recorded or known with the center for missing and exploited children. The child advocacy group Protect.org identifies Minnesota as a crisis area for child porn given the weakness of our current laws. Our recent article with them and their new safety tool for parents explains more how our weak laws feed this industry of child trafficking.  

(If you'd like to stay informed on the latest sex offenders charged and convicted in Washington County please subscribe to get our free emails.)  

In April of 2018 the Washington County prosecutors charged Steve Rask with only 3 counts of possessing child porn. The county has been known to charge with up to seven counts in one case in the last two years with a man that had hundreds and hundreds of files of child porn; however, as in this case, Pete Orput's County Attorney office gave the child predator a plea deal and all charges except one were dropped in exchange for one guilty plea. In December he was sentenced to just 5 years of probation and if he follows the terms of probation he will only do two thirds of the sentence. Is a few years probation enough? Is only a few years on the predatory offender registration going to keep the public safe? 

The fact is the predatory offender registration list is not public in Minnesota and the maximum time on the offender list is only 10 years. In extremely rare cases offenders are registered for life as a level three sex offenders, but are still held privately on the list with where their address is. Level one and two offenders can't even be looked up by the public and only two other states (Maine and D.C.) have laws that weak. But these states don't have over 20,000 sex offenders like MN. 

To see dozens of examples in the last two years of insane plea deals from Washington County prosecutors and the weak MN sex offender law letting the public down see: http://wcwatchdog.com/local-sex-offender-articles/

In Minnesota, law makers and prosecutors believe child rapists can be "rehabilitated," do not need to be monitored, and can become good members of society. The evidence is the fact no bill has passed to make sex offender law more tough in the last two years. Also, Only several hundred of the over 20,000 convicted rapists in Minnesota are confined in prison. Most only do a couple years and then are released. More information here:

If you hope to see any law change, continue to contact law makers, especially Senator Warren Limmer who has refused to pass the sex offender bills in his key special committee in the Senate. 

It's clear that just because a child rapist is charged or convicted, doesn't mean justice will be served after sentencing if convicted. Therefore, if the punishment for ALL criminal sexual conduct crimes is raised than weak charges and convictions will be stronger. With the raised bar there won't be a thing as an outrageous plea deal to lesser rape charges or a weak sentence.

Tell legislators to also make the sex offender list public like nearly every other State in the Country does. All but MN, DC, and Maine have public lists. Maine only has 2,700 sex offenders in their state though. Compared to over 20,000 in MN. 

DATE: 4/19/2018 
DEFENDANT: Steven Donald Rask 
DOB: 2/28/1950 
CITY/RESIDENCE:
MN AGENCY: Woodbury Police Department 
CHARGE: 
I: Possess Pornographic Work-Computer Disk/Electronic/Magnetic/Optical Image w/Porn; 
II: Possess Pornographic Work-Computer Disk/Electronic/Magnetic/Optical Image w/Porn; 
III: Possess Pornographic WorkComputer Disk/Electronic/Magnetic/Optical Image w/Porn 

DATE: 12/13/2018  
CONVICTION: Possess Child Porn 
SENTENCE: Stay of imposition; 5 years of probation; 45 days jail with 1 days credited


*In no way do we wish harm to the convicted sex offenders outside the judgement of the law. Posting each criminal's public data anyone can get allows the public to decide from the evidence if they appreciate knowing such data. Such as what these sex offender's last known address is. 
No representation is made that the individuals listed here are currently on the state's offenders registry. All names presented here were gathered at a past date. Some persons listed might no longer be registered offenders and others might have been added. Some addresses or other data might no longer be current. Owners of Washington County Watchdog assume no responsibility (and expressly disclaim responsibility) for updating this site to keep information current or to ensure the accuracy or completeness of any posted information. All data was only accurate at the time of posting per Government sources provided. Accordingly, you should confirm the accuracy and completeness of all posted information before making any decision related to any data presented on this site. The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability. Message us if you can verify us of an address or change in data.  Washington County Watchdog is not responsible for the accuracy of the content shared, refer to our linked government sources.       

Saturday, December 8, 2018

New Online Safety Tool Launched by Protect.org Sheds New Light on Child Sex Offender Prosecution and Law

This article is a Q & A with Grier Weeks from Protect.org we talk about the launch of their new online safety tool that covers the entire state and how it's very useful for parents and citizens who want to inform themselves about the county by county data on sex offenders. We talk about how Washington County is ranked last in the twin cities and fiftieth in the state with the objective measurements in one part of their online tool about the aggressiveness of prosecution against child sex crime. 

-Protect.org has been around since 2004 advocating for better laws to combat child exploitation across the Country. At WCW we first heard of protect.org work from Kare11's series on MN weak sex offender law. Most notably your research led you to say "Minnesota’s sentencing for child exploitation material is, without a close second, the weakest in the nation."  Tell us more about your work in Minnesota. 


I’m sorry to say it but PROTECT began working in Minnesota because we saw two huge injustices that really made the state stand out.

First, Minnesota has a very intentional loophole in its laws for incest perpetrators. If someone rapes his own child, no matter how young the victim is, he can get probation as long as a judge decides it is in the best interests of the “family unit.” This sounds more like something you’d expect to hear about Arkansas, but Arkansas modernized its incest laws in 2003 and is now progressive by comparison.

The second thing that really sets Minnesota apart is the way you respond to trafficking of child sexual abuse imagery, or what’s commonly called “child pornography.” PROTECT has worked on this issue nationally since 2006, and we’ve never seen anything like Minnesota. Here, prison is rare and reduction of charges to a misdemeanor is normal. This outraged us, but it’s also heartbreaking. This is a human rights crime. Children have been turned into sexual commodities, and it’s incredibly backwards and harmful to decriminalize it this way.

-Why do you think Minnesota has these problems?

The root of the problem seems to be a cultural need to believe that sexual predators can be fixed through therapy, so therefore prison is a misguided solution. We’ve seen that mindset in a lot of different places, and it’s not really liberal or conservative. But it seems very pervasive in Minnesota.

When people call for therapy instead of prison its usually for those who sexually assault children, not adults. If someone rapes a 25-year-old, most people take that seriously. The victim is capable of demanding justice, for one thing. And nobody really believes a therapist is going to fix the rapist anyway. It's just not seen as an appropriate outcome.

However, if the offender rapes a nine-year-old, that’s so disturbing it’s a threat to a lot of people’s view of the world. They want to believe the problem is a sickness, and something we can cure. Over time, this mentality begins to shape everyone’s approach, including prosecutors and judges.

The bottom line is that if you want to break the cycle of abuse, you have to remove predatory adults from access to children and give those kids some semblance of safety. It doesn’t really matter whether you personally believe people can be fixed or redeemed. If you think therapy will change them, deliver it in a secure setting, behind bars. But don’t nominate defenseless children to take the risk.

-Tell us about your latest "Community Safety Tool" found at www.protect.org/safetytool and it's features.   

The Community Safety Tool just made Minnesota the first state in America where the average citizen can find out
www.protect.org/safetytool
how their local elected officials are handling sexual violence crimes. If you think about it, that’s a watershed event.

There are signs that Americans are waking up on this issue, but it has to be about more than hashtags and celebrity stories. We’re eager to see how people will use this information to demand change.

The tool allows people to see and compare how sexual violence crimes have been handled in their county, and others, over a decade. We took the records on all felony convictions for these crimes from the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission and put them online in a way that’s easy to search.

The automated part of our website lets you search by county, type of crime, age of victim, and time period. Then you get results on several key things.

First, is sentencing. You can find out how many offenders went to prison versus how many got probation instead. Then, we break down how much time in local jail people actually got if they were given probation. We also show you which type of probation prosecutors and judges are using, traditional or reduction to a misdemeanor.

The site also lets you see how many cases a county successfully prosecuted and compares it to population size, so that you can get an idea of the prosecution rate. This is very important, because strong sentencing doesn’t mean that much if you are cherry-picking only slam dunk cases and leaving many victims without justice.

We also show how actual sentencing compared to what the guidelines recommended. I think these findings were the biggest surprise. Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines result in sentences that are much shorter than the law allows, and we thought we’d see judges and prosecutors pushing the envelope more. But sentencing is mostly weaker than even the guildelines recommend.

-We found with your Safety Tool there has been 114 convictions of "criminal sexual conduct" over the last ten years in Washington County. That does not include the unsolved and unreported cases. This correlates with our 19 articles on individual child rape cases in just 2018. So every month for the last ten years one or more children have been raped that we know of in Washington County. Do you see this prevalence of child rape and exploitation in other MN Counties?   

In a recent report, Ramsey County prosecutor John Choi compared sexual assault cases to a giant funnel. At the top are all the incidences of rape and abuse, reported and unreported. We know from a lot of research that most rapes are never even reported.

Once reported, cases go through a process of attrition as they move through the system. In other words, what comes out the bottom of the funnel in the form of criminal convictions with meaningful sentences is a trickle compared to what went into the top of the funnel.

In a county the size of Washington, you can be sure that the number of actual child rape victims is vastly higher than those successfully prosecuted by your county attorney, Pete Orput. One indicator would be to see how many reports of child sexual abuse were made to social services and police. Even if you just compare the smaller number that were substantiated by social services and referred for prosecution, you’ll see a big difference. Citizens should be asking why. Where did all those cases go?

You can also draw some conclusions about how your public servants are doing by looking at the county’s rate of successful prosecutions. We’ve listed all 87 Minnesota counties and ranked them, by size group. Washington County lags well behind other large counties and its rate of convictions is five times lower than many small counties.

Now that citizens can see this for the first time, they should be pressuring their justice system to do better. That includes demanding more aggressive prosecution, stronger sentencing, and additional resources to hire more sex crimes prosecutors. 

-Under the "More info" tab you found that Washington County is rated last out of the 5 metro counties and 50th in the state for "aggressive prosecution." What factors went into this rating?   

We simply compared the number of convictions to the population of your county. Our assumption is that rape and abuse happens everywhere, more or less at the same rates. Some people might imagine it’s a bigger problem in some areas than others, but I don’t think there’s any evidence at all to support that idea. Rural people are not worse than suburban, and suburban people are not worse than urban.

Reporting might differ, and referrals to law enforcement might differ, depending upon the resources and attitudes of local social service agencies and police. But in order for a  community the size of Washington County to have such a low rates of prosecution, you can be sure that a huge number of cases are simply not being taken seriously.

-Our investigation of all 50 states child sex offender laws found MN has the weakest laws. When you compare State to State do you also find tougher laws like life time registration on a public database help deter child rape?

When used well, sex offender registration clearly helps communities keep their children safer. Ask any good parent whether they would rather know or not know that a convicted sex offender is living near them and you’ll always get a “yes.”

Unfortunately though, politicians have used registries as a way to avoid spending money on prison and intensive sex offender probation. Prosecutors and judges also use registration as a way to look like they’re doing more than they are.

Former congressman Mark Foley is a good example. When nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford was abducted and buried alive, Foley talked very tough about sex offender registration, comparing sex offenders to wild animals and saying they should be registered and tracked. That sounded much tougher than calling for very low-caseload, high-supervision sex offender probation, which costs a lot of money but is far safer than simply listing them on the internet. By the way, Foley later resigned after it came out he was a sexual predator himself.

Every time a lawmaker like Rep. Matt Grossell introduces a bill to strengthen sentencing or impose intensive surveillance and containment of those released, other lawmakers look at the “fiscal impact” and back off. They just don’t want to pay what it costs. They’re not willing to cut any of their other budget priorities to keep children safer.

That leaves prosecutors to negotiate plea bargains for sex offender registration, pretending that they’ve gotten a good result. Look at the case of billionaire predator Jeffrey Epstein, who’s now in the news. He got a few months of “work release” and lifetime registration. It was a scandalous failure of justice.

Finally, most child sexual abuse happens in the home, or in a child’s “circle of trust.” So, while it’s good to know the address of a sexual predator, you don’t know whether he’s mowing his lawn or preying on another child.

But yes, registration does matter. Keeping the pressure on will prevent many atrocities from happening.

-What's your work in MN look like for this coming 2019 session?  


We have a small staff and don’t have any legislative plans for 2019 in Minnesota. However, we are counting on Minnesotans to use the Community Safety Tool to design and pass smart legislation. I can’t emphasize enough what a resource your state now has. Until now, the justice system was functioning largely in the dark. Many of the debates your legislature has had for years went on without the hard facts that make all the difference. Without facts, you just have opinions, and you know what those are worth.

You are now the first group of Americans ever to have easy practical access to this information. People in other states would love to have this resource. I hope you’ll use it to demand improvement and reform.

-What's the best place to follow you for updates and find out how to donate and support you? Simply Protect.org 


Thanks for asking. We have just created Twitter and Instagram feeds to share our major findings with Minnesotans. You can follow us on Twitter at @thesafetytool and on Instagram at @communitysafetytool. If the conversation grows, we will also provide updates on the Community Safety Tool website itself, which is www.protect.org/safetytool.

We’ve created this for you, so we hope you will join in and begin leading the conversation. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

He Muffled Her Screams and Raped Oakdale Child, Only 90 Days in Jail and Probation for Man From Mahtomedi

Josh Buck
In January of 2018 parents reported to police 3 minors who were possible victims of child rape. In the criminal complaint, Joshua Allan Buck of 196 Hallam Avenue S in Mahtomedi was named as the accused child rapist. Without explaining the horrifying details of the rape, the complaint says Josh Buck was the boyfriend of one of the children's mother. Occasionally he would take the kids and their friends to outings like bowling. On the day in question the 3 child victims reported they were spending the day with him, they all went to his house in Mahtomedi and they played video games. Later in the day Buck gave the children who were 12, 13 and 15 years old alcohol, it says in the complaint. The 13 year old "passed out" on the bathroom floor and the 12 and 15 year old went to sleep in a bed. Josh Buck then was reported to have got into the bed with the two kids. The 12 year old was passed out. Buck then began to rape the 15 year old child. The child fought him, but she was overpowered and he covered the mouth of the child to prevent her from waking up the others for help. Eventually the other children woke up and they made him drive them home it says in the criminal complaint. 

(If you'd like to stay informed on the latest sex offenders charged and convicted in Washington County please subscribe to get our free emails.)  

Police arrested Josh Buck and questioned him about the reported rape and the reports from the children he would send them sexual text messages. They searched his house and found video recording equipment pointed at the bed where the rape was reported to have occurred. He told police what he knew the children were minors and that what he did was wrong. He admitted to covering the mouth of the victim. He also stated that he was attracted to young girls.

Washington county prosecutors charged Josh Buck with only third degree criminal sexual conduct, victim 13 to 15 years old for the apparent violent rape of the child. He was convicted less than a year later and got only 90 days in jail and 15 years probation where most felons only do 2/3rds of their probation if they follow the terms. This happens over and over in Wahington County where prosecutors appear to be capable of charging a child rapist with 1st or 2nd degree child rape, but only charge with 3rd degree. What's worse is Minnesota law has very weak sentences. Even if he was charged and convicted of first degree child rape he would have likely only got 2 or 3 years in jail.  According to a new public safety tool by the nationally active child advocacy group Protect.org, Washington County ranks last in the metro and 50th in the state for strength of prosecution of child exploitation according to the non-partisan site. See the detailed data, for over ten years, the safety tool shows about any of the 87 counties in MN at https://protect.org/safetytool/      

See some of the many cases in the last couple years of those convicted of supposedly harsh 1st or 2nd degree rape from Washington County:

To see dozens of examples in the last two years of insane plea deals from Washington County prosecutors and the weak MN sex offender law letting the public down see: http://wcwatchdog.com/local-sex-offender-articles/

In Minnesota, law makers and prosecutors believe child rapists can be "rehabilitated," do not need to be monitored, and can become good members of society. The evidence is the fact no bill has passed to make sex offender law more tough in the last two years. Also, Only several hundred of the over 20,000 convicted rapists in Minnesota are confined in prison. Most only do a couple years and then are released. More information here:

If you hope to see any law change, continue to contact law makers, especially Senator Warren Limmer who has refused to pass the sex offender bills in his key special committee in the Senate. 

It's clear that just because a child rapist is charged or convicted, doesn't mean justice will be served after sentencing if convicted. Therefore, if the punishment for ALL criminal sexual conduct crimes is raised than weak charges and convictions will be stronger. With the raised bar there won't be a thing as an outrageous plea deal to lesser rape charges or a weak sentence.

Tell legislators to also make the sex offender list public like nearly every other State in the Country does. All but MN, DC, and Maine have public lists. Maine only has 2,700 sex offenders in their state though. Compared to over 20,000 in MN. 

DATE: 1/22/2018
DEFENDANT: Joshua Allan Buck 
DOB: 11/5/1992
 CITY/RESIDENCE:
MN AGENCY: Washington County Sheriff's Office 
CHARGE: I: Criminal Sex Conduct-3rd Degree-Victim 13-15 Actor >24m older 
PROSECUTOR: Pete Orput
CONVICTION: 3rd Degree Criminal Sex Conduct 
SENTENCE: Stay of imposition; 15 years of probation; 90 days jail with 7 days credited; $250.00 fine 

*In no way do we wish harm to the convicted sex offenders outside the judgement of the law. Posting each criminal's public data anyone can get allows the public to decide from the evidence if they appreciate knowing such data. Such as what these sex offender's last known address is. 
No representation is made that the individuals listed here are currently on the state's offenders registry. All names presented here were gathered at a past date. Some persons listed might no longer be registered offenders and others might have been added. Some addresses or other data might no longer be current. Owners of Washington County Watchdog assume no responsibility (and expressly disclaim responsibility) for updating this site to keep information current or to ensure the accuracy or completeness of any posted information. All data was only accurate at the time of posting per Government sources provided. Accordingly, you should confirm the accuracy and completeness of all posted information before making any decision related to any data presented on this site. The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability. Message us if you can verify us of an address or change in data.  Washington County Watchdog is not responsible for the accuracy of the content shared, refer to our linked government sources.