August 24, 2011

Sex Offender Ordinance Could Make It Difficult to Track Ones Living In Sussex

8-24-2011 Wisconsin:

Village officials continue to mull sex offender residency restrictions, but public safety officials say offenders lie about their addresses or say they're homeless to avoid restrictions.

If Sussex were to adopt restrictions of sex offender movements or residency in the village, public safety officials warn it could cause them to lose track of where they live.

Officials from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections warned village leaders Tuesday that residency restrictions have caused issues in other communities as offenders have stopped their real addresses or simply report as being homeless. While lying about residency is a felony, officials say it’s very difficult to investigate and prosecute these cases.

Facebook Poll: Should village limit where offenders can live?

“Some offenders will give a valid address, but they don’t actually live there and they go live with their girlfriend,” Waukesha Sheriff’s Lt. James Gumm said. “They will then say, ‘I don’t live here, I just stay here sometimes,’ and it gets hard to prove where that person really lives.”

The Village Board discussed information about a possible sex offender residency or movement restrictions in Sussex after some residents have raised concerns about the community not having such rules while other communities do.

In the Lake Country area, Sussex, Hartland, the Town of Lisbon, Oconomowoc and City of Pewaukee don’t have municipal restrictions on sex offender residencies or movements.

In communities that have passed such ordinances, sex offenders have been limited to where they can live, where they can go and, in some cases, are barred from loitering and participating in events where children may be present.

“I don’t want to be the last community that doesn’t have something on the books,” Trustee Jason Wegner said.

There are 17 total sex offenders living in the village, with only three being actively watched by police office after being recently being released from prison. According to village officials, if a residency law were passed in the village, the offenders would be limited to living on the southwest and southeast sides of the village.

However, if a sex offender is currently living in an area that would become restricted, the village would be unable to force them to move.

State officials who appeared at Tuesday's Committee of the Whole meeting warned studies have shown the restrictions don’t keep sex offenders from living in the communities and it tends to “force them underground” in some communities. For example, Waukesha is seeing a large number of potentially non-complaint sex offenders who will list themselves as homeless or living at a different address than they really do.

“What we know about sex offenders is that 93 percent of them know their victim, so you know, it’s not the kind of guy who is coming out of the bushes and taking the children, it’s the people coming into our homes, talking to our children…and establishing a relationship with them,” one state official told trustees.

Trustees didn’t make a decision on if they want to pursue an ordinance Tuesday, but Village President Greg Goetz asked all trustees to come to the October Public Safety and Welfare Committee meeting to address more questions and to help decide if Sussex should move forward.

“This is nothing we want to be hasty about,” he said. “I get approached by a lot of people in the community and it seems to be an important thing to the community.

“I think it’s something that everyone needs to do their homework so we can bring all these things to light.” ..Source.. by Joe Petrie

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While the administrators of this town argue over a restriction that
doesn't accomplish anything, the FSO's don't know what to do, law enforcement doesen't know what to do,and most of the citizens in the town are worried about the economy and if they are going to be able to pay thier mortage this month. On a larger scale...... from SORNA
on down....the way FSO's are punished, and the existence of a useless public registry should be a HUGE embarrassment to all envolved. A HUGE waste of tax payer dollars. A huge disgrace for violating our constitutional rights. Just another HUGE bureaucratic mess our government has created. Do they HONESTLY believe this is keeping our communities or children any safer then they were BEFORE the Registered Sex Offender fiasco?