Community meeting held as sexually violent person moves in

By Stephanie Buffamonte, WSAW News

TOWN OF ALBAN, Wis. (WSAW) -- The Portage County Sheriff's Department hosted a community notification meeting Tuesday to inform residents about the sexually violent person who will soon be living in the Town of Alban.

Jason Staves will be released from prison for a 1999 conviction of child sexual assault. Prosecutors said Staves groomed a 13-year-old and sexually assaulted him four times. He threatened to harm the victim if anyone found out about the assaults. Staves was placed in Portage County by a judge from Chippewa County. He is joining another sexually violent person that lives in the home who is from Washington County.

Representatives from the Portage County Sheriff’s Office, Portage County District Attorney’s Office, WI Department of Corrections, WI Department of Family Services, and the WI Sex Offender Registry Program were all present at Tuesday's meeting located at the Central Wisconsin Electric Cooperative. About 40 residents voiced their concerns about the sexually violent person being placed in the area. Especially due to the fact that he will be living in a home across the street from the Central Wisconsin Electric Cooperative. It's a place that holds community meetings, including Boy Scout functions.

"It's something we would prefer not to have happen, especially we are a rural community," resident Mary Jo Reed said. "You do get somewhat scared, but we have to remember we are a community, we watch each others back and it's something that has to happen."

Many community members understand that he will be moving in and that decision can't be changed at this point. The Sheriff's Department held Tuesday's meeting to alleviate any fears.

"The public wants to hear what kind of measures are being taken to keep them safe," Portage County Sheriff Mike Lukas said

Staves will be under supervision, which means the offender cannot leave the home without a chaperone, for anything, even something like shoveling snow. He will have a GPS ankle bracelet on that will let officials know if he left his authorized areas. Staves is however allowed to get a job in the community, but his chaperone would need to be with him at all times while under supervision. The offender is not allowed to have internet in the home or have a device that can enable Wi-Fi.

Residents and law enforcement voiced their frustration with the fact that Staves was placed in Portage County by a judge from Chippewa County and has no local ties to the area.

That's why, Representative Katrina Shankland is drafting legislation that would require the Department of Health Services, which places the offenders, to notify the municipality, law enforcement and district attorney well in advance. And also, potentially work with local officials and law enforcement on a proper placement of the offender. The legislation would also require the department to look at the effects on residents and businesses and allow the municipality to meet with the judge to address concerns. Shankland says the draft will be ready in a few days.

Staves is scheduled to be released from prison on or before March 12.