Convicted sex offender back behind bars one day after release: Was he set up to fail?

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WAUKESHA COUNTY -- Was there no hope for a homeless sex offender? The convicted sex offender was re-arrested one day after his release. One public defender says 44-year-old Kenneth McDonald was almost set up to fail.

Kenneth McDonald

Kenneth McDonald

The public defender says sex offenders face more obstacles than other offenders when it comes to re-integrating into the community.

Kenneth McDonald's story might be the perfect example.

McDonald was spotted near an elementary school on Wednesday, March 9th -- shortly after his release, landing him back in police custody. McDonald was transported to the Wisconsin Probation and Parole office.  He will be detained by the Department of Corrections during an investigation into this violation of his GPS requirements.

McDonald was convicted in 2005 after pleading guilty to a felony charge of second degree sexual assault of a child in September.

In February 2006, McDonald was sentenced to serve six years in prison and 12 years extended supervision.

Upon his release, officials said McDonald is considered a serious offender with a high probability to reoffend.

Officials said McDonald's offense was committed against two girls -- ages three and six, whom McDonald lived with. McDonald inappropriately touched both victims, and also admitted to being in possession of hundreds of images of child pornography.

When the crimes happened, McDonald admitted to police he assaulted as many as eight children.

He has served his time, and on Tuesday, he was released on GPS monitoring, with no permanent home.

Kenneth McDonald

Kenneth McDonald

Police put him back behind bars on Wednesday, after he allegedly violated the terms of his release by walking on Moreland Boulevard near Hawthorne Elementary School.

In an email, a Department of Corrections spokesman said officials are investigating the incident.

Kenneth McDonald

Kenneth McDonald

If it is found that a violation occurred, officials can "amend the terms of his supervision or issue revocation, which may result in his re-incarceration."

While McDonald waits to learn his fate, his story is perhaps an example of the difficulties sex offenders, particularly homeless ones, face when trying to re-integrate into the community.

"There are more homeless sex offenders. It's a growing problem," said Robert Peterson, assistant public defender.

Peterson said when it's time for sex offenders to be released, finding a place for them to live can be pretty difficult.

"There are ordinances throughout southeastern Wisconsin, including in Waukesha, which actually prohibit them to have a home," said Peterson.

While behind bars, sex offenders are in a tightly-controlled environment where they're receiving food, housing and medication, if needed. It's a major switch to go from that situation to being homeless on the streets.

"That makes it difficult not only for him. It probably increases risk to the community by increasing instability -- which has been associated with re-offense," said Peterson.

A spokesman for the Department of Corrections said McDonald and other released offenders wear GPS monitoring devices. Officials receive an alert when that person wanders into a restricted area.

We're told an alert went off on Wednesday regarding McDonald, around the same time neighbors in Waukesha called police.


  • Brandon

    Of course he was set up to fail…what exactly are you suppose to do when you have no home, no family, and you surely aren’t getting a job? Let’s add, that also why he wandering around with no food, everyone you come in contact wants to blow your brains out? The system is flawed.

    I am in no way defending this dude because I would’ve given him the death penalty, but let’s take a step back and look at this situation, as soon he was dumped off he was screwed.

  • willima ayotte

    The solution to the growing sex offender problem is simple. The registry is it relies on the honesty of the registrant to update the information. If you’re going to get fired by reporting a job, you’re not going to report the job. If you will get evicted if you report your address, you’re not going to report your address. If you will get harassed, ostracized and maybe even a victim of vigilantism by posting your email address, you’re not going to report it. If you become old, forgetful or senile you will not update this information. This information should be for law enforcement eyes only so that ‘good’ people will not seek to stalk and harass registrants. The other error in the registry is that these laws are “strict liability offences” which like Jay Walking, normally results in a fine. For a registrant it results in a felony and they can be sent back to prison for one or five years at the expense of the tax payer, state and county. Are we willing to spend $150,000 because someone failed to update an email address? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on schools, roads and water? Stranger danger is rare. Read the papers, most perps are step parents, neighbors, baby sitters, relatives, coaches and teachers – in other words, people whom parents pawn their kids off on to. 97% of sex crimes are committed by people not even on the registry. What value is it other than make people homeless and jobless and filling our prisons.

    • Boom! debate over.

      Willema Ayotte, You make excellent points but unfortunately anybody can win that debate by simply reminding the judges that the man sexually assaulted a 3 year old girl, and a 6 year old girl, plus he admitted to sexually assualting EIGHT other kids….So yeah the guy has really really bad karma and deserves all the misfortune and tragedy that comes his way. Until he’s put out of his misery he will have to deal with all that pain and suffering.

  • buzz

    why does anyone feel sorry for this puke, maybe he should have learned while in jail what he did was wrong , it is nuts that people , even this reporter , feel sorry for him!! if he is not so bad why dont these people let him move in with them and see where that gets them!!!

  • chris

    Who cares if he was set up. Pedophiles have no business being integrated into society. Let them rot in prison

  • Reagan 84

    Why is it always SOMEONE ELSE’S fault when someone CHOOSES to be a waste of human life in society? Next time the Libtards let him go free,give him a sleeping bag and a fishing pole and stick him in some secluded area up north to fend for himself!!

  • Chaz

    Who cares? Sex offenders should be set up to fail. They can’t be rehabilitated or integrated into a civil society. Kill them or keep them in a cage.

  • hard working taxpayer

    Let’s not forget why he was in prison in the first place before we boo-hoo about his circumstances now. There are other homeless people who deserve assistance more than this guy.

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