Level 3 predatory offender Robert Arthur Litzau was released from prison Monday, Feb 4, and is moving to 24th Avenue Southwest in rural Pine River.
A community notification meeting was held Monday night in the Pine River-Backus School media center to inform residents of their rights, and those of Litzau, 70.
Litzau was released after serving time for a 2011 conviction of violation of predatory offender registration requirements and burglary of a dwelling. He was sentenced to 24 months in prison, a minimum sentence due to his prior convictions.
He was arrested May 27, 2010, when officers responded to a burglary call at a property on Hazel Street in Backus. The address was registered by Litzau as a place he regularly visited. Evidence showed it was actually an unregistered residence. Litzau broke in after being kicked out of the property.
Litzau now faces increased restrictions. Michele Murphy, Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) community notification coordinator, said Litzau will remain under close supervision by special dedicated agents until Oct 4, 2023, and will be required to register as a sex offender until 2033.
Conditions also require that Litzau register his place of residence, any vehicle he is driving, his appearance, his place of work and place of education. Any failure to do so can result in additional sentences and punishments.
He is also prohibited from using drugs or alcohol, purchasing or possessing sexual materials or entering establishments with sexual entertainment. Special agents with the DOC have the power to randomly search Litzau and his property, administer breathalyzers and urinalysis, and arrest him on charges, all without a prior warrant.
Litzau is also forbidden from places where children congregate. This includes schools, sporting events or the county fair. He is also currently banned from all church property in Pine River. He is required to wear a GPS bracelet for a minimum of 90 days. This time period may be extended depending on his behavior during that span of time.
“If you see him (violating these restrictions), the first call should be to law enforcement the second call should be to us or vice versa,” said Andy Hadrava, Minnesota DOC intensive supervision agent.
Litzau has completed his prior prison terms and is not currently wanted by the law.
Some residents expressed concern that Litzau’s place of residence is near the Pine River-Backus School. Some residents asked why he is not restricted from living so close to the school.
Murphy said that research in Minnesota showed that restricting offender residences due to proximity to certain areas was not shown to reduce sexual offenders reoffending, and can actually reduce effectiveness of sexual predator registration programs.
“If we start putting too much restriction on where they can live, then we’re not going to know where they are because they’re just not going to register,” Hadrava said.
Murphy said residency restrictions are an ineffective safety measure.
Murphy and Hadrava both emphasized the value of public awareness. Murphy said that notification programs have contributed to a 4 percent decrease in sexual offender reconvictions. Since 2002, only 3 percent of offenders arrested have prior convictions of sexual offenses.
“That’s an indication that what we’re doing in Minnesota is working to reduce sexual reoffense,” Murphy said.
Litzau’s history of other charges, accusations and sentences include:
• 1998, fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges involving a 15-year-old male from Crow Wing County. He was sentenced to a minimum jail sentence of 12 months and one day.
• 2008, failure to register as a predatory offender. He returned to St. Cloud prison for 17 months with credit for 298 days in September 2009. He was released in May 2010.
• January 2011, Litzau was recognized in Pequot Lakes eating a meal at St. Alice Catholic Church. Litzau was later given an order of trespass, making it unlawful for him to be on any Lake Country Parishes property.
• Feb 1, 2011, Litzau was arrested at SuperAmerica in Pequot Lakes for having an unregistered vehicle. Litzau faced a felony charge of knowingly violating predatory registration requirements/intentionally providing false information, and a gross misdemeanor charge of obstructing the legal process with force, violence or threat of violence for fighting with arresting officers.
If you have any questions or anything to report concerning Litzau, contact local police officers and/or intensive supervision agents at 800-417-3836. If you witness suspicious or concerning behavior from any adults or children, do not hesitate to contact authorities. Warning signs can also be found at http://www.stopitnow.org/mn.