On his Facebook page Tuesday, state representative Tony Cornish posted a letter to the editors of the Mankato Free Press and Star Tribune taking umbrage to articles in both papers taking the position that the legislature was shirking its responsibility by not addressing court-ordered issues with Minnesota's sex offender program.
Neither paper has published the letter online, but section of Cornish's letter referenced one participant in the sexual predator, medical marijuana and cell phone privacy debates who does those working on reform of the issues no good. Cornish brings up convicted rapist Evanstad, who is currently facing terroristic threat charges:
"I am completely comfortable with my decision, which is, doing nothing with MSOP (Minnesota Sex Offender Program) in this session.
The main is that I've been in law enforcement for 36 years, and have chased down, wrestled, been injured by and transported to prison, sex offenders. Another reason is "Tom Evansted" [sic] who is a registered sex offender, recently sent me a volume of hateful emails, testified in front of my committee, and was later arrested for threats during visits to a prosecutor and a sheriffs house.
Evanstad is definitely a scary guy--and no longer on the loose because of the threats Cornish mentions. However, Evanstad was never committed to the post-sentence sex offender treatment program or he wouldn't be out and about.
The Pioneer Press's Tad Vezzner reports in Edina rapist harassed judges, victim's family, charges say:
New charges have been filed against an Edina man, alleging he harassed Minnesota court and law enforcement officials -- including several judges -- involved in his 1999 rape conviction and had unwanted contact with the victim's family.
Thomas Wayne Evenstad, 48, also stalked or threatened neighbors, a psychologist, the executive director of Minnesota's Mothers Against Drunk Driving and a pharmaceutical company CEO who shared his name, Ramsey County prosecutors claim.
In almost every case, Evenstad created unwanted websites in his alleged victims' names -- 400 websites in all -- often linking to his own blog, where he would berate them, according to criminal complaints filed Tuesday.
On at least three occasions, prosecutors say Evenstad caused his victims to hire private security or buy security systems for protection.
Evenstad was charged in Ramsey County District Court with 13 felony counts, including terroristic threats, aggravated stalking, and a "pattern of stalking conduct."
Read the entire story at the Pioneer Press. The part that caused Evenstad's path to cross with Cornish:
Finally, charges were filed on behalf of an on-site coordinator at the same condo building, Lakewinds Condominiums in Mound, where Evenstad lived from 2011 to 2013.
The coordinator, who also served on the board of the condo association, told police Evenstad "had been intimidating and aggressive" toward him, and "was concerned about his safety and the safety of employees because Evenstad appeared to be unstable."
Evenstad created two website domains in the name of the coordinator that redirect visitors to the sites offering guided trips of marijuana dispensaries, prosecutors say. The complaints note that Evenstad is a proponent of legalizing marijuana and "claims to be running for governor."
At the City Pages Blotter, Jesse Marx reported in February about the tours in Tom Evenstad is your pot tour guide in Colorado. By March, Evenstad was doing more than raising eyebrows, Tom Lyden reported in Registered sex offender arrested after visiting sheriff's, governor's, prosecutor's homes:
Thomas Evenstad is into a lot of things -- legalizing marijuana, what he calls "the Gulag of Minnesota's sex offender program," and proving his own innocence on a rape conviction from 16 years ago.
Wearing dark glasses, a rasta cap, and Bob Marley t-shirt, Evenstad raised a few eyebrows at the State Capitol. His rambling testimony last week at a hearing on cell phone tracking seemed to border on the paranoid.
Now, Evenstad is in jail. According to the charges, he threatened an assistant superintendent of the BCA at that hearing -- and he was just getting warmed up.
. . .Last week, Evenstad filed an incoherent federal lawsuit on behalf of medical marijuana users against President Obama and the Attorney General, complete with a cartoon.
Evenstad is a man of many obsessions, and has even claimed that he's a political prisoner in the past. This time, however, it seems his behavior, not his beliefs, have landed him back in jail.
Lately, Evenstad's been running a couple of businesses that revolve around legalizing marijuana, including cannabis tours to Colorado. He is now facing two felony charges of terroristic threats.
Check out the rest of Lyden's article online.
We don't necessarily share Cornish's conclusion about the pace at which the legislature should address the program, but we can understand the need to keep a close eye on this fellow.
Photo: Thomas Evenstad testifying at the state legislature. Via Fox 9 News.