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Union Gospel Mission Helps Out High Risk People

February 22, 2012, 5:20 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Union Gospel Mission Helps Out High Risk People
Ed Morris

SIOUX FALLS, SD - His release triggered a warning from the South Dakota Department of Corrections. DOC officials announced Tuesday that 32-year-old Ed Morris had completed his full sentence and would be moving to Sioux Falls.

Morris has a history of sex crimes and officials say he's at high risk to re-offend.

Morris was sentenced to ten years in prison back in October 2001 for second degree rape in Spink County.

Officials had to release him because he had served his full sentence, and they are now warning the public about him because they say he has a criminal history of engaging in aggressive sex acts with children and people who have developmental disabilities.

Morris told officials he is going to stay at the Union Gospel Mission in Sioux Falls.

Fran Stenberg is the executive director and says their mission is to help people like Morris.

"We begin to deal with them on that premise is that, 'Hey, we'll help you if you are willing to be doing something for yourself,'" Stenberg said.

The Union Gospel Mission offers three meals a day, a bed, clothing, nightly chapel services, and classes to anyone who needs help. But Stenberg says the people who stay at the mission need to stay sober and do something to help themselves.

"If you want to continue to stay you'll get out and look for a job, look for housing, and keep us posted on how you're doing in that area," Stenberg said.

Stenberg says the mission will treat Morris like everyone else who walks through their doors.

"That guy is not the only high-risk person that ever comes to the mission. It's a different offense, we have other high-risk people that walk in and out of the mission as well," Stenberg said.

But, Stenberg says when people seeking help do come to the Union Gospel Mission they make sure they are a better person when they walk out.

"We do not want a place for the troubled individuals, whatever the trouble may be, to flop. We want to see them become productive and we'll help them become that if they cooperate," Stenberg said.

Stenberg says the Union Gospel Mission is also a secure facility.

All the doors are locked at 10 p.m. at night, they have separate buildings for men and women and children to stay in, and someone is always there watching the facilities 24 hours a day.

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