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UPDATE: Predatory offender jailed in Becker Co.

Willard Edwin Cousins

Willard Edwin Cousins, the predatory offender who was released last week in the Park Rapids area, was taken into custody Friday in Becker County.

According to the Becker County Sheriff's Office's online inmates-in-custody list, Cousins was incarcerated in the county's maximum security facility as of Monday.

The statute under which he was arrested was described as "predatory offenders — registration procedure when person lacks primary address."

A criminal complaint under this charge was filed against Cousins on Monday by Becker County Attorney Brian McDonald.

The complaint alleges that Cousins knowingly violated the provisions of the statute requiring him to register with local law enforcement upon entering their jurisdiction. The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

The accompanying Statement of Probable Cause notes that Park Rapids Police Chief Jeff Appel spoke with Cousins on Feb. 7 about his registration status. At that time, Cousins was registered with Hubbard County as homeless with an address in rural Becker County, and Appel advised Cousins to register immediately with Becker County law enforcement.

After 24 hours, Cousins had made no contact with Becker County to register as a predatory offender, according to the statement. Deputy Matt Gerving with the Becker County Sheriff's Office was then notified that Cousins was not in compliance with registration requirements.

On the evening of Feb. 8, Cousins was located, arrested and taken to the Becker County jail. In an interview at the jail, Cousins told Gerving that he recalled speaking to Appel but did not remember being told to contact Becker County.

During a hearing on Monday, Judicial Officer Gretchen Thilmony signed an order of detention, ordering Cousins to continue to be held pending further proceedings. Attorney Simon C. George of Simon & Simon Law Offices in Detroit Lakes was appointed as Cousins' public defender.

Bail was set at $80,000 cash or bond with no conditions, or $1,000 cash or $30,000 bond with conditions, according to online court records. Conditions include not leaving Minnesota without written court approval, keeping the court informed of his current address, remaining law-abiding, making all future court appearances and maintaining contact with his attorney.

Correction: Cousins' first name was printed incorrectly in the Saturday, Feb. 9 Park Rapids Enterprise story about his release into the area.