A Level 3 predatory sex offender will be living in the rural Erskine, Minn., area, according to a statement by the Polk County Sheriff's Office Thursday.
According to the state Department of Corrections, Lonny Jerome Cote, 61, has a registered address of U.S. Highway 59 Southeast in the Erskine area. He has a history of sexual contact with female victims between the ages of 4 and 14.
Representatives of the Sheriff's Office and the Department of Corrections will be available at a community notification meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m., Jan. 5 at the Erskine Community Center, 105 Ross Ave.
I was surprised at this very public announcement of the location of the sex offender, and it reminded me of some cases I read a few years ago (when I started writing about rural-urban difference in relation to the law) about the old practice of banishment as punishment--effectively casting out members of society, typically into sparsely populated spaces, relegating them to the rural, if you will.
Now this in relation to sex offender registries and rurality: I know that information about the location of sex offenders is intended to be public, but I wonder how often it is so prominently displayed in newspapers, be they rural or urban. In a rural community, of course, it may be harder for a registered sex offender to situate himself as far away from schools as the law requires--unless he is in open space, the countryside, and not in a small town.