December 1, 2010
New charges against pardoned sex offender causing a stir in Minnesota
As detailed in this local article, which is headlined "Pawlenty seeking perjury investigation against sex offender he helped pardon," an ugly pardon story is in the works in Minnesota. Here are the basics:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty says the sex offender that he joined in pardoning two years ago may have committed perjury to get his criminal record wiped clean. If so, the governor wants him prosecuted for that offense in addition to new molestation charges.
Pawlenty said he sent letters to prosecutors Wednesday urging them to investigate whether Jeremy Giefer of Vernon Center lied to the state pardon board to have his criminal record expunged. Last month, Giefer was charged with sexually abusing a girl more than 250 times before and after he was pardoned in 2008.
"If the current allegations against him result in a conviction or any indications of criminal behavior, he perjured himself and lied to us and may have committed other forms of fraud or misrepresentation before a governmental agency or board," the governor said. If that's the case, he said Giefer should be charged with lying under oath.
Pawlenty was a member of the three-person board that pardoned Giefer, now 36. The other pardon board members were Attorney General Lori Swanson and then-Chief Justice Eric Magnuson of the Minnesota Supreme Court.
In 1993, Giefer was convicted of having sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend, whom he later married. He served 45 days in jail and was free when the pardon was granted.
Last month, Giefer, now 36, was charged in Blue Earth County District Court with 12 felonies, including five of first-degree sexual conduct. The complaint says the victim told police the abuse began when she was 9 and continued until she was 16....
[Pawlenty] said the board would not have pardoned Giefer if it had been aware of the latest sexual abuse charges. He noted that during his tenure the board has never released anyone from prison or jail early. Pardons have been granted only after sentences were served.
December 1, 2010 at 06:46 PM | Permalink
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This is a sad story, although I'm not entirely sure how not pardoning him would have made a difference. The only thing that immediately comes to mind is that when he was pardoned, he no longer had to register as a sex offender, although given that the mother of the child was aware of his status, it doesn't seem like it would have made a difference whether he was registered or not. Plus, the Jacob Wetterling act wasn't passed until 1994, so it's possible Minnesota didn't have a registry at all then.
I suppose leaving his record not expunged would have kept in place any court orders prohibiting him from being around children, but I have to wonder if such orders were in place given the short duration of his sentence. Was he even convicted of a felony? Regardless, whatever orders may had been in place clearly didn't have an effect given the abuse had been going for quite some time prior to the issuance of the pardon.
While the pardon makes the story more interesting, I'm not sure that should be the focus, although I'm sure all people will care about is whipping up some Willie Horton-ish hysteria against Pawlenty.
Posted by: T.O. | Dec 1, 2010 10:45:10 PM
"he perjured himself and lied to us and may have committed other forms of fraud or misrepresentation before a governmental agency or board," the governor said. If that's the case, he said Giefer should be charged with lying under oath."
Works for me as long is you also bring charges against any govt official who pulls the same stunts!
as for this!
"The only thing that immediately comes to mind is that when he was pardoned, he no longer had to register as a sex offender,"
Not sure about minn but in florida only a pardon for actual innocence will remove the registry requirment.
Posted by: rodsmith | Dec 1, 2010 11:20:04 PM
That is also the case in Lousiana, I believe (i.e., at least certain kinds of pardons do not remove registration requirement).
Posted by: Anon | Dec 2, 2010 12:34:41 PM