Bill would crack down on homeless sex offenders: “Worse than knowing where they are is not knowing”

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MADISON (WITI) -- They are tough to track and they're roaming the streets. The number of homeless sex offenders are on the rise, and there's a new plan to fix the problem.

David Waszak

David Waszak

"Every person has a right to have a roof over their head," Donna Waszak is trying to look out for her son.

David Waszak is serving time in prison. Once he's out, the Oak Creek native will be a registered sex offender. His crime makes it nearly impossible for his mother to find him an apartment.

"I don't want my son living on the streets," Waszak said.

Last year, a flurry of communities passed ordinances -- creating strict new limits as to where sex offenders can live. For example, Waszak cannot return to Oak Creek.

sex offenders2

"We need to make communities safer. We do that by knowing where the sex offenders live," Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) said.

Joel Kleefisch

Joel Kleefisch

Rep. Kleefisch is set to introduce a bill on Wednesday, May 27th that would create statewide sex offender residency requirements.

Kleefish says the strict local ordinances have created something much more dangerous: homeless sex offenders.

"When that happens, probation and parole (officials) lose track of sex offenders. Far worse than knowing where they are living is not knowing," Rep. Kleefisch said.

The bill, if passed and signed into law would trump local ordinances.

High-risk sex offenders wouldn't be allowed to live 1,000 feet from schools and child care facilities. They would likely return to the communities they came from.

This issue has created a rare partnership between Kleefisch and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett -- but not all are on board.

Franklin Mayor Steve Olson told FOX6 in December restricting where sex offenders live should be left up to local governments.

A similar bill failed in 2005 -- but Kleefisch says this time, it's different. With the number of homeless sex offenders growing, he says the time to act is now.

"Once they are off the grid, then you really have something to be afraid of. This is a workable solution," Rep. Kleefish said.

The bill will be introduced on Wednesday in Madison, and Kleefish says he's confident it will pass.

sex offenders

8 comments

  • luwisnclerk

    The first great irony is that these men are homeless because of the registry and when people check it, they dig out the pitchforks if they find someone living near them. Renters and sellers check the registry and deny people. If the registry were for law enforcement eyes only or just didn’t exist (didn’t work out well for Germany or witches) the problem would go away. The second irony is that before these men were lepers to society, they were normal and trusted people like all your uncles, step dads, cousins, baby sitters, coaches, teachers, neighbors and friends. Does anyone see the connection? Sex offenders are people who are trusted and allowed into our homes. The registry gives us a false sense of security. As we persecute the monster we can label, we do it right along side a monster we don’t know. Just read the papers, the victims were not strangers but knew their offender well and often times were teens with raging hormones who went looking for it.

    Sex offences should be handled through the family. The registry creates problems and we create problems trying to resolve the problem. All at a cost of about $600,000,000 per year. I don’t know about your bridges and fire departments but mine could use some of that money before we build a hit list.

    • ShellyStow

      Yes sir, you pretty much have it right. The public registry and all it has spawned can take the direct blame for this situation, and an additional irony is that the laws that created all of it have no evidence supporting their ability to reduce sexual crime, either first time or repeat, or to improve public safety at all. We therefore shouldn’t be surprised that they don’t. Since there will remain a very small percentage of offenders who either cannot or will not alter their behavior after punishment, and these are generally the ones whose victims are strangers, a law enforcement-only registry will serve that need. First and foremost, we need laws that are based on facts and evidence.

  • jermememe

    You people are idiots. You make it impossible for them to get jobs and business loans and govt housing loans, mandate registration so they can’t work, then complain that they are homeless. Overreaching lunatic politicians with no concern for public safety and all the concern for their political career.

  • oncefallendotcom

    So let me get this straight, Rep. Joel Kleefisch, after seeing residency laws cause homelessness, decides to create a statewide residency law to fix the homelessness. I hope you folks don’t decide to make this guy fire marshal, because once he discovers gasoline accelerates fire, he’ll pass a bill demanding all fire trucks in the state throw gas on fires. If he wants to know where registered citizens live, why pass a bill ensuring their housing options are dissolved?

    Real truth at oncefallen.

  • The Truth101

    “Once they are off the grid, then you really have something to be afraid of. This is a workable solution,” Rep. Kleefish said.
    Paranoid much, Rep. Kleefish?

  • 7heRedBaron

    Idiots in elected office gave us the registry and all of it’s problems which resulted in no positive results and grave consequences to the negative for millions of Americans. They threw all concerns about civilized treatment and Constitutional conduct of government aside because they likely never bothered picking up the Constitution for even a brief glance. And now here comes this guy. He has put a lot of serious thought into these registry laws which coincidentally received no thought when they were originally written. And I can best sum up his conclusions that if drunken driving is dangerous then you just aren’t drinking enough. Whatever he’s chugging, he needs to put it down.

  • Valigator

    Homeless sex offenders have a lower recidivism rate for sex crimes than those who have been Re-integrated back into the community. Why? Lack of opportunity. Guys living in tents or under bridges are safer than the one living on YOUR block.

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