Judges allowed to send violent sex offenders to other counties
By Emma Henderson, WSAW News
ALBAN, Wis. (WSAW)- Not all sex offenders are considered "sexually violent persons". According to Portage County District Attorney Louis Molepske, SVP's have not only committed a sexually violent crime, but due to mental health issues, they often have a hard time understanding the act they committed is wrong.
"It's more than a crime of violence, it's how they think about the crime," Molepske said.
Now two sexually violent people have been ordered to move into a home in the Town of Alban right across the street from a community room that hosts Boy Scout meetings, birthday parties and other events with children.
"We supply the electric needs of our members but we try and do as much in the communities in which we serve," said Mike Wade, President and CEO of the Central Wisconsin Electric Cooperative. The building is also where a popular community room is located.
Judges from Washington and Chippewa Counties have placed offenders in the house, even though the SVPs have no local ties to the area. A Portage County judge had already ruled that an SVP from Portage County couldn't live in the same house because of the co-ops community room.
"I'd like to see the Chapter 980 law reviewed, that way every county has to find locations for their own 980 offenders," District Attorney Molepske said.
Molepske and Democratic State Representative Katrina Shankland both testified to try and prevent the Chippewa County SVP from being placed in the home across from the co-op.
They weren't able to stop it, but the sexually violent person from Chippewa County will be required to have a chaperone whenever an event is going on at the co-op, he will have to wear a tracking device to make sure he doesn't leave the property, and Chippewa County is required to continue searching for a place for him to live within Chippewa County.
Representative Shankland is introducing legislation in a few weeks to increase transparency in the SVP placement process.
"Really what the legislation does is it requires the judge to get the information from the department of health services regarding every placement location that has been denied by a previous judge," Rep. Shankland said.
Wade said that once the second SVP moves into the house, the Town of Alban will hold another community meeting to hear people's concerns. The date of that meeting is not yet set.