Registration as a sex offender is required for almost all Wisconsin residents convicted of a sex crime, and as many past offenders can attest, it's a penalty that can be just as difficult to bear as a sentence behind bars. Many Wisconsin cities have ordinances that place limits on where registered sex offenders can live, and even without an ordinance a landlord may not be willing to rent to a known sex offender. Add to those logistics the distrust of neighbors who learn of the offender's move into the area, and it can be easy to understand why many offenders have a hard time adjusting to life after prison.
A man who is preparing for release from prison has already raised the ire of Racine, Wisconsin, residents. Many of them gathered at a community meeting recently to discuss -- and protest -- the registered sex offender's move to their neighborhood. The man was convicted in 1987 of second-degree sexual assault in 1987 and two more times in 1994 on the same charges. One of his victims, all of whom were young girls, continues to live in Racine, but she's not the only one concerned about his return to the area.
The man will be required to wear an ankle monitor and must be supervised whenever he leaves his home within the first year of his release. But the approximately 20 residents who attended the meeting said that isn't enough assurance for them. They want him to be placed elsewhere, if he's to be released at all.
Sex offender placement is a contentious issue in every community, even those that have ordinances stating where offenders can live. The offender may be prohibited from living within 500 or 1,000 feet from areas where children congregate, for example. Many police officials say these ordinances can be difficult to enforce and can actually decrease public safety because offenders who can't find housing may be forced to live off the grid.
Given these obstacles, it's important that those accused of a sex offense do everything they can to avoid a conviction. In many cases, an aggressive defense by the right attorney can result in a reduction of charges or penalties, including the registration requirement.
Source: Fox6Now.com, "Racine residents meet to discuss implementing sex offender ordinance," Brandon Cruz, Feb. 21, 2013
- Our firm works with Wisconsin residents accused of sex offenses. To learn more about our practice, visit our Wisconsin sex crimes defense page.