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Dayton wants sex offender releases halted for now

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton is directing his human services commissioner to halt provisional releases of Minnesota sex offenders until the Legislature has time to make changes to the state's legally embattled treatment program.

Dayton is also suspending the planned transfer of some sex offenders to a residential facility in Cambridge. In a letter Wednesday to Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, Dayton says the issue has become ensnared in governor's race politics.

State officials are facing pressure from a federal judge to end the practice of unlimited treatment terms for patients in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. Dayton had backed Jesson in her decision not to fight the release of a convicted multiple rapist, but he now says any future appeals should be frozen until the Legislature can address the judge's concerns.

Jesson says three appeals currently in the pipeline, including one from convicted rapist Thomas Duvall, will move ahead.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.