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Sex offender moving within Park Rapids

Paul Bright

A Level 3 registered sex offender moved from one residence to another within Park Rapids on Wednesday.

The Park Rapids Police Department released the information about Paul Thomas Bright, 53, under Minnesota Statutes requiring the public to be notified when a Level 3 registrant is transitioning into or within the community.

"This individual has served the sentence imposed on him by the court," the release stated, "and has been a law-abiding citizen within Park Rapids for the past two years."

Aaron Swanum, an information officer with the DOC, confirmed that Bright "was discharged from supervision at the expiration of his sentence on Aug. 28."

An amended release issued by the PRPD on Thursday specified that Bright was moving within the 300 block of East River Drive.

A community notification meeting regarding Bright's move is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6 at Park Rapids City Hall. Representatives of the PRPD and the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) will be available to provide residents with useful information concerning public safety.

According to information on the DOC Offender Locator website, Bright's highest ranked offense was kidnapping.

According to information publicly available through the Minnesota Courts and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Bright was convicted on July 25, 2003 of:

• First-degree burglary involving possession of a dangerous weapon or explosive.

• First-degree criminal sexual conduct, which involved fear of great bodily harm.

• Kidnapping to facilitate felony or flight.

He was sentenced to four years in prison for the burglary count, 12 years (concurrent with Count 1) for the sex crime, and four years (consecutive to Count 2) for the kidnapping charge, a total of 16 years.

He was required to serve at least two-thirds of his sentence (approximately 10 years) in prison followed by up to 10 years supervised release. In 2016, his supervised release period was modified to five years.

The Park Rapids Enterprise reported on Sept. 4, 2002 that Bright was arrested in Orange County, Calif. and held pending extradition back to Minnesota, where he was wanted for an Aug. 9 burglary during which he raped a rural Lake George woman.

During the crime, Bright also allegedly stole a bag of silver dollars and other old silver coins and used a .22-caliber handgun, also possibly stolen from the scene, to hold his victim captive. After assaulting her multiple times, Bright allegedly left the victim bound to a chair, where she remained until her husband came home from work several hours later.

The Enterprise reported that Bright was identified from fingerprints and was located through the efforts of Hubbard County Investigator Jerry Tatro, who suspected that Bright may have fled to the home of a relative in Brea, Calif. or a friend in La Habra, Calif. He was arrested by local authorities in Brea while working at a building that was being rehabilitated.

Based on the arrest report, the Enterprise reported that Bright attempted to flee from the arresting officers, carrying flooring cutting knives and running down four hallways before being tackled and handcuffed.

According to the BCA, Bright was booked into the state's St. Cloud correctional facility on July 29, 2003. According to DOC records, he was released from the Lino Lakes correctional facility on May 31, 2016 and was placed under supervised release. His supervision period ended Wednesday.

For more information, call the Park Rapids police at 237-2711 or visit mn.gov/doc/community-supervision/community-notification.

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