Sex offenders pre-approved to live in your neighborhood?

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MILWAUKEE (WITI)--  If you've done it recently, you know moving isn't easy.  Donna Waszak has even more challenges.  She lives in Texas, and her search for a new apartment is not for her, but her son.

"Winter is coming. I don`t want him to be out on the streets," Donna Waszak said.

David Waszak already has a home, inside the Wisconsin Correctional System.  David Waszak is serving time for a crime committed in 2007, when the then 19-year-old admitted to giving drugs to and having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

The crime makes David Waszak a registered sex offender.   His mother is hoping he'll have a fresh start upon his release, but is learning finding housing after his crime has become more difficult.

"I`m not saying my son is innocent on this, but every person has a right to have a roof over their head," Donna Waszak said.

David Waszak cannot go back to his hometown of Oak Creek.  The city is among a flurry of communities in Milwaukee County that have tightened laws that severely limit where offenders can live.  Some places -- like Oak Creek have banned sex offenders from returning  completely.

Fearing they were becoming a sex offender "dumping ground," the city of Milwaukee followed suit.

"Why would you expect the city of Milwaukee  to say 'oh fine, give us all of your sex offenders?'" Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Barrett signed a new ordinance into law that took effect in September.  The new law keeps sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of places where children congregate.  This includes parks, playgrounds, schools and so on.

Now, there's just a single page of addresses where sex offenders can legally live in the city.

As FOX6 News discovered, there is a problem.  People who are on "the list" have no idea they're on it!

Resident after resident told FOX6 News we were the first to bring "the list" to their attention.

"Shocking, very very shocking," homeowner Kevin Barkow said.

The list was created by the Milwaukee City Clerk's Office.

"The desire in this case was to hold the state of Wisconsin Department of Corrections accountable for dumping sex offenders in the city of Milwaukee," Clerk Jim Owczarski said.

Owczarski explains at first, new restrictions created by the new ordinance were displayed for offenders on a map. However, the map was not very helpful.

"We realized that wouldn`t be particularly meaningful to people, because it is hard to tell the level of granularity we have whether any particular property is in or out," Owczarski said.

Instead, the City Clerk's Office used a computer program to identify the exact locations of places outside the restriction areas.  Owczarski admits his office is not required to determine if these places are available for rent or purchase.

FOX6 News spent hours traveling to addresses on "the list," and did not find one available property.  And there were other problems.  At 60th and Lloyd, four duplexes that were on "the list" were directly across the street from a church with a preschool.

The city says the document will be revised as needed.  In the meantime, residents fear desperate sex offenders needing a roof over their head may soon come knocking.

It's something FOX6 News found out may already be happening.

One resident on "the list" says his neighbor was visited recently by someone who needed a place to stay.

"He said someone was knocking on his door looking for a place, looking for anything to rent.  So that probably corresponds to that," the resident said.

Owczarski says that was not the intention of the Common Council.

"Obviously this is an early part of this process and that is an unintended consequence,"  Owczarski said.

It's a list that is surprising those who are on it, and may not be helping those who need it.

"I'm scrambling to find where he (David Waszak) can go.   He doesn't deserve to live on the streets," Donna Waszak said.

CLICK HERE to view the complete list of pre-approved addresses for sex offenders

16 comments

  • Shelly Stow

    Mama Bear, do you have children or grandchildren? Did you know that the fastest growing demographic group being added daily to the registry is juveniles? Are you certain that one you love will not join this group for one of many foolish, even childish, and yes, stupid, things that kids do? God forbid that happening, but if it should, can you imagine how you would feel if someone who doesn’t know your loved one, has no clue what a great kid he or she is, coldly says he deserves to be on the street–especially in Wisconsin in the winter?

    • Mama Bear

      A 19 yr old is not a ‘kid’..the 19 yr old (grown man) drugged and raped a 14 yr old girl, highly doubt a ‘great kid’ would do something like that, yes i have 2 daughters, grown, married and great people…i still feel the same Shelly.

      • Shelly Stow

        Then the only thing left to say is that if it should ever happen to anyone you love, regardless of their age, I hope and pray that you have someone in your life who will be capable of showing you and your family more empathy than you seem capable of. Peace and blessings to you and yours.

    • Mama Bear

      Sorry Shelly, if someone in my family drugged and raped a 14 yr old girl, they would be disowned, turned in and would be nothing to me anymore.. i wouldn’t be passing it off as no big deal ,a kid that made a mistake..19 year old isn’t a kid/child or juvenile..i will say he’s sick and needs to be kept away from children and teens! So many woman, men and children lives ruined by people like this man in the story…me being one of them..i have no pity or forgiveness for child molesters/rapists..they ruin and destroy lives! My only hope is he don’t get out and ruin more lives..we don’t want him in our city nor anyone like him.

      • Shelly Stow

        From all indications, this was a situation of a pair of stupid teenagers doing drugs and having s*x. Legally she couldn’t give consent, but she willingly participated. This is not to excuse him, but there is a difference between this and slipping something to someone unknown and forcefully raping them. Is what he did wrong? Of course. Did he deserve punishment? Certainly. And he served it and is still serving it–parole–and will continue to serve it—registry. Does he deserve to dies on the street because the laws that he must abide by allow no place for him to live? How could any fully functioning human being answer yes to that? A self-declared terrorist who had tried to blow up the White House would be treated better than this.

  • Brian

    Hmmmm…let’s see: While in Friedberg (Germany), Elvis Presley (aged 24 at the time) met 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu. They would eventually marry after a seven-and-a-half-year courtship.
    So, just because no one pressed charges on Elvis, it makes his “courtship” of a 14 yr old girl “Okay”? I bet you wouldn’t have wanted “The King” to be homeless.
    Oh, the hypocrites this society is, I tell ya. LOL

  • oncefallendotcom

    I call bovine excrement on the council claiming this was an “unintended consequence.” This isn’t a maverick idea invented by the Milwaukee council. Residency restrictions have been around long enough to be thoroughly studied and proven to be ineffective at best and counterproductive at worst. There is ample evidence that homelessness and failure to register cases will be the result from this ordinance.

    These consequences were very much intended. The council simply didn’t care.

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