KASOTA — A level three sex offender being released from prison Monday plans to reside in rural Le Sueur County near Kasota.
Gregory Eugene Ward, 47, had originally announced plans to relocate to Mankato. After a community notification meeting was held in July, however, Ward’s plans apparently changed.
Now he plans to move to a rural residence near Kasota, and a community notification meeting has been set for 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall in Kasota.
Ward has a history of sex offenses dating back to the 1990s.
They include fondling children he knew in Scott County and attacking a woman he didn’t know on the Sakatah Trail in Blue Earth County and attempting to force her to have sex.
Ward was wanted by police for 14 years before he was arrested in Mankato in 2010 on a tip he was in the area visiting his mother. He was sent to prison to serve a sentence stemming from the Scott County offense.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Ward had several run-ins with area law enforcement agencies investigating reports of sex-related crimes. He was 19 years old in 1985 when he attacked a woman on the Sakatah Trail. She told police Ward was in a car and would appear at areas where the trail intersected county roads.
He fondled himself in front of her at one intersection, then got out of his car and grabbed her at another intersection. He had pulled down her tube top before a group of people in a passing car stopped to help.
There were other allegations before he was found guilty of molesting a child he knew in Scott County in 1994. He served less than a year in jail and in 1996, shortly after being released, he was arrested again in Blue Earth County and charged with indecent exposure for fondling himself in front of a woman he knew.
Facing the new charge and the possibility of more prison time for the Scott County conviction, Ward apparently left the area. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear at court hearings.
Allegations of being a predatory offender didn’t end at that point. He moved to Florida and married his fifth wife, Stephanie Ward, in 1999. During an interview last year, she told The Free Press she knew nothing about his past as a sex offender in Minnesota until she received a call from another ex-wife in 2010. Gregory and Stephanie Ward had been separated for years at that point.
Stephanie Ward said Gregory Ward was charged with stalking in Florida for incidents in 2006 involving her.