Level 3 sex offender moving to Wadena
A level three sex offender -- considered the highest level risk to reoffend -- will be moving to Wadena and authorities have scheduled a community notification meeting to discuss the man, Matthew Aaron Stites.
According to information released by police, Stites, 25, has a history of sexual contact with victims of adult age -- one of them a vulnerable adult who knew Stites.
When he is released from corrections custody on March 11, Stites plans to live on the 400 block of Jefferson Street South in Wadena.
A community notification meeting will be conducted at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 4 at the Wadena County Courthouse auditorium. The Wadena County Sheriff's Office, County Attorney Kyra Ladd's office and the Wadena Police Department will present information to the public at that time about Stites.
Stites is not the first level three sex offender to move to Wadena, but he will be the only one living in Wadena County once he's here. In 2008, Jeffrey Scott Meagher became Wadena's first level three sex offender, triggering the notification meeting at that time. However, according to the Department of Corrections, Meagher is now living in Burtrum, Minn., and is registered with the Todd County Sheriff's Office.
One of the first questions most people ask at notification meetings like the March 4 one is why would authorities allow a sex offender to move into town. The answer, addressed in a news release, is that they can't prohibit an offender from moving in; however, they must register where they're living with police and keep in touch with probation officers.
Local law enforcement currently tracks and monitors the activities of approximately fifty registered sex offenders in Wadena County, but Stites will become the only level three offender being tracked.
Sheriff Michael Carr has maintained a stringent program of monitoring all registered sex offenders in Wadena County and checks to determine their current residency status. Wadena County Attorney Kyra Ladd has also been aggressive in prosecution of sex offenders failing to register change of addresses or living status with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
The Wadena Police Department is available to provide residents with useful information on personal safety. The Wadena Police Department may be reached at (218) 631-7700.
The purpose of this meeting is not to create fear within our community, but to furnish information to enhance public safety and awareness, Wadena Police Chief Bruce Uselman said.