By Brandi Makuski
A convicted Stevens Point sex offender previously scheduled for a May 16 release is being given temporary housing in another county.
After hearing that Daniel Wachowiak, 35, was going to be released this week without having a home to go to, Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) last week stepped in to find a solution.
“Over the past several days, I have been working closely with the DOC to ensure this individual has secured housing so he can be better monitored,” Shankland said in a statement to the press on May 16. “I am thankful and relieved to announce that the Department of Corrections has located secured housing for Daniel Wachowiak outside of Portage County.”
Shankland said Wachowiak will be secured in another county, but did not say which one, for “up to 90 days,” but added it’s only a temporary situation and signals a need for change. She’ll be announcing a “roundtable event with the DOC and elected officials in our community” to discuss legislation that may address the problem of homeless sex offenders in the long term.
According to Lt. Joe Johnson from SPPD, the DOC, Division of Community Corrections, is responsible for securing housing for sex offenders who are being released back into the community following a prison sentence.
On many occasions, he said, housing is not available due to multiple factors, such as funding, available temporary housing locations within the community the subject is being released, and the subject’s history with certain locations.
There are approximately 700 homeless sex offenders in Wisconsin, 11 of which reside in Portage Co., Johnson said.
“The supervising agencies do their best to monitor these offenders when they are released as being homeless by using the tools available to them,” Johnson said. “In this case, this subject is being released as being homeless after countless attempts and contacts by the supervising agency to find housing, to no avail.”
Wachowiak was convicted in 2011 of second-degree sexual assault of a child. Police records indicate that he entered a local haunted house, signed in as a volunteer, and assaulted a 14-year-old girl in the women’s bathroom.
Wachowiak was sentenced to five years of initial confinement followed by five years of extended supervision by Judge Thomas Fluguar in 2012. Twice Wachwiak was sent back to prison after he violated conditions of his supervision, according to court documents.
Johnson said officers at SPPD are very familiar with Wachowiak.
“Probation and Parole has been working on it for months, trying to get this guy housing, but with his history, and sex offender status, they’re unable to find any place for him to live,” Johnson said. “He wasn’t a model citizen. It’s a state issue but it falls on the local law enforcement; the funding was there but nobody would allow him to live in any of their locations.”
Wachowiak has conditions to have no unsupervised contact with minors; no contact with the victim; not to consume drugs. He also must comply with all sex offender rules, cooperate with electronic monitoring, have regular face-to-face contact with law enforcement, comply with all rules and lifetime registration of the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry, and comply with discretionary GPS.