Monday, November 3, 2008

Nicholas Thomas Stroeder - Repeat Sex Offender

A registered predatory sexual offender was sentenced to five years in prison today for assaulting a woman in the bathroom of the Government Services Center in October 2007.

Nicholas Thomas Stroeder, 19, must serve at least 40 months before released. Sixth Judicial District Judge Eric Hylden credited Stroeder with 398 days already spent in jail.

A presentence investigation recommended a prison sentence of 51 months. St. Louis County prosecutor James Nephew asked for a 60-month sentence.

Nephew also raised the possibility that the attorney’s office may ask for Stroeder to be civilly committed after his prison term.

“There’s very little hope he is ever going to change,” Nephew said.

"25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years"
.........Sarah Tofte

The victim of the attack was present, and told the court she believed Stroeder when he told her that he was going to kill her. She said she remembers thinking “I’m only going to get six months with my new daughter.”

The woman, who suffered a permanent neck injury and has lost her sense of trust in people, asked Hylden to impose the maximum sentence, saying that even that wouldn’t that be long enough.

Stroeder is a registered Level 3 predatory offender “considered the highest risk to reoffend” and was living in the Duluth Bethel Society work-release program after being released from prison. He was at the Government Services Center while looking for work.

He has admitted that he saw a woman carrying a black bag enter a second-floor bathroom. After looking around, he entered the washroom and barged into the bathroom stall she was in. He admitted that he put his hands around her neck, choked and threatened to kill her. He also admitted to putting a hand over the woman's mouth when she began screaming. She was able to break free and run down the hall to an office to call 911. A large group ran to the scene and stopped Stroeder from leaving.

A security camera captured images of the defendant, victim and witnesses before, during and after the offense.

Stroeder has said he was trying to rob — not sexually assault — the woman. The victim doesn’t believe that, noting that during the assault Stroeder ignored her bag on the floor.

In September, Stroeder pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal sexual predatory conduct, agreeing there was more than enough evidence against him that his sexual impulses were a motivation in the attempted rob-bery.

Stroeder’s attorney, Mikkel Long read two letters from Stroeder to the court. In the first, Stroeder apologized to his victim.

“If I could take it back, I would,” Long read.

In the second letter, Stroeder told the court the attack “was a very bad mistake,” and hoped that the court would give him the treatment he needs.

Stroeder remained largely silent in court. When asked by Hylden if he had anything to say, Stroeder said he would be vulnerable in prison and would require protection.

Long asked Hylden to sentence Stroeder to 51 months in prison, but not to execute the sentence, putting Stroeder on 15 years probation instead. Long also asked that Stroeder be sentenced to two years at Northeast Regional Corrections Center and ordered to complete treatment, have no contact with the victim and pay restitution.

Hylden sided with the prosecution.

“It is unsafe for the community to have you out and in it,” Hylden told Stroeder.

Hylden also ordered Stroeder to pay $1,306 in restitution. Hylden also sentenced Stroeder to 90 days for damaging property in the jail.

Stroeder is from Oak Harbor, Wash., but he was in the Mesabi Academy juvenile detention center in Buhl when he was convicted of the Nov. 21, 2005, sexual assault of a staff person there. He was 16. That incident also took place in a bathroom. He was charged in juvenile court with first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was then certified to stand trial as an adult and pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was sentenced to the Department of Corrections, to be followed by 10 years of conditional release.

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