may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In Re: Brian Baumann.
Filed March 11, 1997
Brown County District Court
File No. P192305
Linda J. Heine, Somsen & Schade, 1061/2 North Minnesota Street, P.O. Box 38, New Ulm, MN 56073-0038 (for Appellant Brian Baumann)
James R. Olson, Brown County Attorney, John R. Rodenberg, Assistant Brown County Attorney, 519 Center Street, P.O. Box 428, New Ulm, MN 56073-0428 (for Respondent Brown County)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Willis, Judge, and Mansur, Judge.
Appellant, who was subject to an indeterminate commitment as mentally retarded, resided in a group home in the community. Due to his inappropriate sexual and physical behavior, he was transferred to a regional treatment center and a review hearing was held. The trial court committed him to Cambridge Regional Treatment Center. Brian Baumann appeals, and we affirm.
Appellant was committed indeterminately as a mentally retarded person, based on his diagnosis of mental retardation and his "long, extensive history of sexual inappropriateness." In January 1996, the court transferred him from the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center to the Norseland Site Group Home, a less restrictive community placement.
Norseland had three male residents, with 24-hour supervision by two to three staff members. While residing there, appellant received various forms of treatment for his condition. Nonetheless, on several occasions appellant sexually and physically assaulted Norseland female staff. Appellant continued in treatment; however, female staff no longer worked with him. Appellant then became upset and physically assaulted male staff. In the incident that resulted in his transfer, appellant assaulted a staff person who was driving him home from work. Police brought him to St. Peter Regional Treatment Center.
At the hearing to review his placement, Brown County Family Service Center social worker Tom Sandberg testified that Norseland cannot meet appellant's needs. The St. Peter Regional Treatment Center, where appellant previously resided, is no longer appropriate because it will close its developmental disabilities unit by summer 1997. Further, the population at St. Peter is so mixed that it is not staffed to meet appellant's needs on a long-term basis. Instead, Sandberg recommended placement at the Cambridge Regional Treatment Center as soon as space is available. Cambridge offers the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options Program, providing treatment for mentally retarded individuals such as appellant who are sex offenders.
Appellant testified that his preference was to live in an apartment with one staff person attending him at a time. He planned to work for his former employer, attend a men's group, and work with Dr. Sarah Hass, his treating psychologist.
The court also reviewed reports from Dr. Hass and Dr. Richard Helgeson, also a psychologist. It noted Dr. Hass's report indicated appellant was a predatory sex offender with no motive to change, who has not profited from over a dozen years of counseling. Dr. Hass felt his best interests would be served and the community would be protected if he were placed in a secure facility. Likewise, Dr. Helgeson concurred that appellant does not appreciate the danger he poses to others and that he does pose substantial risk to others.
The trial court committed appellant as mentally retarded to Cambridge Regional Treatment Center. Baumann appeals.
D E C I S I O N
The trial court findings as to the least restrictive alternative will not be reversed unless clearly erroneous. In re King, 476 N.W.2d 190, 193 (Minn. App. 1991) (upholding commitment of mentally ill person to Minnesota Security Hospital).
The court must commit the patient to the least restrictive treatment program meeting the patient's treatment needs. Minn. Stat. §§ 253B.09, subd. 1, 253B.12, subd. 7 (1996); see In re McPherson, 476 N.W.2d 520, 522 (Minn. App. 1991) (no error in committing mentally retarded person to regional treatment center where no community facility available to treat person's condition), review denied (Minn. Dec. 13, 1991).
The trial court found that appellant had assaulted both male and female staff at Norseland, that appellant's psychologist, Dr. Hass, believed appellant could not be effectively and safely treated for his sexual aggressiveness in a community placement, and that Dr. Helgeson essentially agreed with Dr. Hass's opinion and indicated there was no appropriate environment for appellant less restrictive than an inpatient setting.
Appellant first argues there is no clear and convincing evidence to show that he posed a danger to himself or others such that placement at Norseland would be inappropriate. He essentially argues that because male staff members were usually able to restrain him and eventually calm him down after he engaged in assaultive and threatening behavior, he does not pose a danger to others.
The experts believed that appellant posed a danger to others. The fact that staff were usually able to restrain him when he became sexually and physically assaultive speaks more to the ability of the staff to handle aggressive behavior than to appellant's lack of dangerousness. In fact, in the last incident before appellant's transfer, the staff member who was driving at the time of the assault was not in a position to restrain him. The trial court findings were not clearly erroneous.
Appellant next challenges his commitment to Cambridge. The trial court found that the Brown County Family Service Center, through its social worker Sandberg, was of the opinion appellant should be committed to Cambridge as soon as space was available. It noted that Brown County had previously made extreme efforts to place appellant in a residential setting and tried alternatives to an inpatient facility. The court found no alternative less restrictive than Cambridge existed that would be consistent with appellant's treatment needs and community safety.
Meaningful review requires sufficient evidence and trial court findings. King, 476 N.W.2d at 194. Appellant contends the court committed him to Cambridge without any description of the program. He contends he should be given an opportunity to continue in a community-based program that will not include female caregivers and that will address his aggressive behaviors.
The record shows appellant needed the more structured program at the regional treatment center, that appellant posed a danger to others, and that placement at the community facility was not appropriate. Further, the social worker explained that the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options Program at Cambridge provided treatment for patients like appellant who are mentally retarded sex offenders. The trial court determination is based upon sufficient evidence and findings and is not clearly erroneous.
[ ]* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.