Disheartening is the word Linda Walker used to describe a federal judge's decision to declare the Minnesota Sex Offender Program unconstitutional Wednesday, June 17.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank does not order specific changes to the program, but without them there is the potential that a mass release of sex offenders is possible.

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"That's disturbing. Every citizen should be upset over this," said Walker, whose daughter, Dru Sjodin, was kidnapped in 2003 from a parking lot in Grand Forks, N.D., and killed by registered sex offender Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.

Walker, who lives in Pequot Lakes, has been fighting for changes to laws regarding sex offenders in the state for the past 11 years.

Since Sjodin's death, most politicians have leaned toward keeping the state's worst sex offenders in prison or at a state hospital as long as possible, but Frank ruled that keeping them indefinitely hospitalized violates the U.S. Constitution

The number of offenders placed into the state's program jumped from 150 to 700 following Sjodin's death and when it was revealed Rodriguez did not enter treatment after completing a 23-year prison sentence prior to her murder.

"What about the victims that have been victimized by these 700 offenders?" Walker asked. "We're once again taking the victim's out of the equation."

Walker said she wasn't surprised by the ruling but wanted residents to hold their legislators accountable. The problems surrounding the program were mostly avoided by politicians as they awaited major changes from Frank's ruling.

"They chose to do nothing," she said. "Now ... possibly 700 offenders will be released back into our communities."

Forum News Service reporter Don Davis contributed to this report.