By Liz Verley, Staff Writer
Clients who are going through Frank Weber’s CORE treatment program are told, “You need to apologize, (to your victim) but you cannot ask for forgiveness. When you apologize you are taking responsibility for you own behavior. When you ask for forgiveness you are making an expectation of them and you do not have that right.”
Weber, M.S., who was born, raised and still resides in Pierz, is a licensed psychologist who specializes in helping people bring resolution to their harmful sexual behaviors. The behaviors may include but are not limited to: actions, thoughts, affairs, obsession with online chatting, criminal sexual behaviors, pornography, etc.
“I was working with the victims and came to realize there was no program that held the offender accountable,” said Weber.
CORE came about after Weber took his concern to the Department of Corrections (DOC). He was asked to develop a program and present it to the DOC. The program is now in its 18th year.
“Two people who were instrumental in helping me develop the program were Larry Falk of Morrison County Corrections and Kathy Langer who is the supervisor of Todd and Wadena Counties Corrections,” said Weber. “We spent a lot of time talking about what we could do and how to work together.”
Weber’s program was accepted by the DOC and is the only one of its type in Minnesota.
Weber and his wife, Brenda, who manages the offices and the financial aspect of the business, have 35 employees. Their offices are in Brainerd, Sartell and Mankato and also service the areas of Grand Rapids, Staples, Alexandria, Willmar, Marshall, Windom, Slayton, Rochester, Shakopee, Chaska and other communities.
In these communities space is supplied and Weber supplies the therapists.
Weber said going through the program takes about two years. Sometimes longer and sometimes shorter. “More than half of the clients are not in the correctional system,” he said. “We have approximately 500 in the program at any given time. About 90 percent are males and 10 percent females. They range in age from 13 – 90 years old. We do not bring them into a community. They are all residents of a community we serve.”
Weber said according to DOC statistics, 99 percent of those who complete the CORE program are never convicted again.
For the program to be a success, the client must be honest and disclose everything they have done related to their sexual history.
“We even use a polygraph to make sure the client is telling us everything,” said Weber.
“Therapy is done individually but, during the course of the program, if they are married, at some time their spouse is made fully aware of the client’s actions,” he said. “If they are in the correctional system, the client’s parole officer is invited to sit in on the group sessions. Juveniles are in a separate program and family therapy is included.”
“The goal of the program is to make people into healthy productive citizens and no longer offenders. Most importantly, it is about helping people. The best part is to see the people in a bad spot turn around and become honorable people,” said Weber.
For more information on the program, one may call (320) 202-1400.