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“If this is winning, I don’t want it:” Convicted sex offender talks about life after being released from prison

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MILWAUKEE -- On the morning of July 5th, a white van left Fox Lake Correctional Institution.  In the back, Matthew Schechter, a Milwaukee man with a history of sex crimes.

As a young man in the late '80s, he had sex with two teenage girls; in the mid-'90s, forceful sexual assaults on adult women. After 22 years in prison, he’s getting out, his time served.

Matt Schechter

Matt Schechter

No one wants a sex offender like Matt Schechter living next door to them, and it’s certainly understandable.  Municipalities across the state have codified this with ordinances that restrict where offenders can live.  But are those restrictions really keeping you safe?

Four hours after leaving Fox Lake,  Matt Schechter walks out of the state building on 6th Street -- his first steps into freedom after 22 years. Where those steps will lead him, he doesn't know.  The prison van left him here to be processed by parole and fitted with a GPS monitor.

"They didn't have any answers for me,” Matt says.  “No housing options.  Just, 'We're gonna put you on this GPS bracelet, and good luck.’  That's all they told me," Schechter said.

Matt Schechter

Matt Schechter

The maze he will try to navigate over the next 48 hours spotlights serious issues with sex offender residency requirements in Wisconsin.  By state law, sex offenders have to return to the county in which they lived when they committed their crime.  For Matt, that's Milwaukee.   However, there are 19 municipalities in Milwaukee county, each with different restrictions on where he can live -- various buffer zones around areas children might be -- schools, parks, daycares and so on.  No one has given him any information on what those rules are, and he knows one wrong move can put him back in prison.

After stopping at a bank to cash a check his father in Germany sent him to get started, he boards a bus for Walmart.

Matt Schechter

Matt Schechter

"I feel pretty anxious and nervous," he says as the bus rolls south on 27th Street.  "I probably only have enough to get by for a few days," Schechter said.

At Walmart, Schechter picks up supplies and a cell phone.  He has to call his parole agent to advise her where he's staying, once he figures out where that is.  Sex offenders don't get a map of areas they can live when they get out prison and they don't get a list of approved addresses. They're directed to decipher the buffer zones on their own.

But first, the cell phone is a challenge. Immediately it becomes clear, things have changed in 22 years. He struggles for an hour to figure out how it works.

Matt Schechter

Matt Schechter

Finally, once he gets it working, he calls Oak Creek Police. He’s not allowed to access the internet. He’s heard there are some motels on South 27th where he may be able to stay the night. They give him the green light for one night. But time is running out.  The battery on his GPS monitor is low.

"It’s only good for 12 hours.  If I don't charge it and it goes off, there will be a warrant issued for my arrest," Schechter said.

So Schechter starts walking south, hoping to make it to a motel in time:  A homeless sex offender, deemed by the state to be so dangerous he'll remain on the registry for life, strolling the street at night looking for a place to stay.

State Rep. Joel Kleefisch

State Rep. Joel Kleefisch

“You can see what a mess this has become,” says Republican State Representative Joel Kleefisch.  He’s been  pushing for a statewide standard,  a uniform buffer zone everywhere, but he's getting pushback.

“No municipality wants to be told that their specific rules shouldn't be in place.  If you're a municipal leader you want to tell your citizens 'we don't have any place in this municipality for sex offenders to live,'" Kleefisch said.

Matt eventually did find a vacant motel room for the night, plugs in his GPS, and talks about his past.

“In 1994, I had a lot of anger. I had a lot of issues growing up, and I didn't know how to ask for help. I didn't know how to talk to people, and along the way I hurt a lot of people," Schechter said.

Matt Schechter

Matt Schechter

In prison, Schechter explains he did five years of therapy, including sex offender treatment , and drug and alcohol treatment.

“Ultimately, I want the same thing everybody else wants . I want to get a job, and go to school, and make a life for myself," Schechter said.

But the next day, Schechter is on the move again.

"Every place you try to stay is illegal. The shelters won't take me because of my status," Schechter said.


And Schechter has had to leave Oak Creek because the city, along with 15 other municipalities in Milwaukee County, has what’s called an Original Domicile Restriction:  If you didn't live there when you went to prison... You're not allowed to live there when you get out -- anywhere.

No one tells sex offenders that when they're released.  It's another avenue in the maze they have to figure out.

matt8As the night gets late, Schechter tries to find a blanket to sleep with for the night, but strikes out. With nowhere to turn, he walks into a Milwaukee Police station and has a stroke of luck. An officer, sympathetic to his situation, says he can stay in the park next door.

Schechter shows us where he’ll be sleeping:  "Back there are some benches underneath those trees.   So I'll just use my duffel bag as a pillow and put on my jeans - try to keep some of the bugs off," Schechter said.

48 hours after Schechter was set free, as the sun rises over MacArthur Square the next morning, he is in violation of Milwaukee's sex offender ordinance -- the park, smack in the middle of a child safety zone. But with nowhere for him to go and with the blessings of police, his parole agent approves it.

"Well, I'm disappointed in that," snaps Alderman Bob Donovan.

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan

Donovan sponsored the most recent restriction on sex offenders in the city.  In April, Milwaukee re-defined the word "residence" to mean a place where a person sleeps at night.  So now, it's illegal for a registered sex offender like Schechter to even fall asleep within the city's safety zones. Fifteen other municipalities in Milwaukee county have the same measure, taking away the exemption for a temporary place to sleep.

"The purpose of the legislation was to close that loophole," explains Donovan.

Where are they supposed to stay?

"Well, not in Milwaukee," said Donovan.

But one week later, that's still where Matt Schechter is sleeping -- in the same park, next to the police station.

“I know it feels good to people to say, 'Oh yeah, we did something.' But look at what you're doing.  It's not designed to keep children and other people safe.  It may look that way, but it's really designed to make it impossible for sex offenders to find anywhere to live. So they're forced to go somewhere else.  The problem is, the ways the state laws are written. We can't go anywhere else," Schechter said.

Matt Schechter

Matt Schechter

So where in Milwaukee can Schechter live? The city has a 2,000 foot buffer zone, leaving just pockets of possibilities. Most aren't even residential. A car dealership, for example;  the parking lot of a pet supply company; the 10th hole at Tripoli Country Club; the taxiway at Timmerman; the coal piles on Carferry Dr.; a section of St. Adalbert's Cemetery;  and most of Mitchell International Airport.

In the entire city, there are just 55 addresses approved for sex offenders. FOX6 Investigators checked them against the sex offender registry, and found there is not a single sex offender living in any of them. Most are single family homes -- not for sale and not for rent. The few multi-units don't allow felons.

Wendel Hruska of Project Return

Wendel Hruska of Project Return

"It’s catastrophic," says Wendel  Hruska of Project Return, a program that tries to help former inmates transition.  He's seen how being homeless drives sex offenders underground and off the grid.

"Those individuals can't really function," Hruska said.

"And that means they have nothing to lose," adds  psychologist  Anna Salter, who has studied the sex offender mind.  “It`s definitely a risk factor for re-offense.”

"They're stuck," says Hruska.

Stuck, like Matt Schechter.

One month after his release from prison we check up on him. He's found a full-time job,  but he can't find a place to live. Each night after his second shift, he returns to the park, and puts up his tent.

We notice Schechter’s mood is much darker than it was a month ago.

"I`m considering just saying f--k the whole thing and turning myself back in," Schechter said with frustration. "Even in prison you have federal civil rights to a bed and a bathroom.  If this is winning, I don't want it."

Today, more than a month after our last interview with Schechter, he has finally found a place to stay in West Milwaukee –- one of the three municipalities that doesn’t have the original domicile restriction. However, there are more than 230 other sex offenders still on the streets in Milwaukee County.


  • Always Outspoken

    What concerns me is that there is no distinction between “sex offenders” – they are not all equally evil.

    There are some who are inherently predatory or violent, and they should be more tightly restricted than those who are not. Many are guilty only of possessing illegal pornography, or having a teenage girlfriend that they don’t break up with when they turn 18 – hardly “threats” to their neighborhoods.

    IMO, there needs to be levels of sex offenses, and then different residency restrictions for each level of offender. For the most dangerous individuals, grouphomes in desolate areas should be established.

    • Reasonless

      Perhaps they can all come live with you and your family while you distinguish all of the different categories’ that you speak of.

      • Always Outspoken

        Make sure your college-aged kids see an ID before having sex with someone who CLAIMS they are 18 – because if they happen to get caught in bed with a 17 year old who lied to them and the parents of the other child push the issue, your kid could easily find his or her self lumped in with those who abduct 5 year olds and repeatedly rape them when it comes to where they can live.

        But apparently you’re ok with that. “Sex offenders” are all the same to you.

      • Shelly Stow

        Reasonless, your tired, old non-answer is not constructive in a serious discussion such as this. If you have something meaningful to contribute in support of your opinion, please do so and allow others to respond if they choose.

      • JR

        Hi Reasonless,
        Pretty reasonable answer. I know you think you were being a smart*ss, but the reality is you are making a pretty accurate suggestion. Let me tell you WHY.

        It is a NATIONALLY KNOWN fact that 96% of ALL sex crimes against children are committed by someone they know, and are in a position of authority over them. It is also a well known and empirically documented fact that Sex Offenders have the lowest recidivism rate. It is ALSO documented that of those Sex Offenders who are charged with a crime, 95% of the time that charge is NOT sexual in nature. HOWEVER 78% of those cases are related to REGISTRATION AND RESTRICTIVE POLICIES.

        So, your child IS safer with me than he/she is with your brother, your dad, your brother in law, your father in law, a teacher, a priest, a youth minister, a police officer, a gym teacher, a gymnastic coach. Basically your child is safer with 4 complete strangers, than with 96 people you know.

        Rob In Dallas

      • Reasonless

        I appreciate your stated facts, and also know that they are accurate for many of the documented offenses.
        I wasn’t being a smart ass with my comment. The comments I posted earlier were deleted after many posted insults towards me, calling me anything form a non American to even worse.

        To the hot head that called me UN-American; I served in a capacity for my country that I would never wish upon anyone else, and yet am proud. I did the things that I was asked so hopefully your and my children will never have to.

        To the person that quacks about my tired old non-answer; you are entitled to an opinion, and perhaps you need to open up your narrow mind just a smidgen before going on your soapbox. (Just my opinion)
        As I stated days ago, I do realize that there is a problem when we have a situation of a 18 year old with a 17 year old friend. These listed offenders shouldn’t have the rest of their life destroyed because of an act of mutual lust. Something should be changed about this with our system.

        Within a three block radius of my home, I have three young men that are on the registry because of this very reason. Two of them I personally know, and have no issue with them what so ever. I suspect the third person is just as fine of an individual as the other two.

        I also have an immediate family member along with a cousin that were victims of a violent assaults. (Two completely separate crimes, two separate violators.)
        One violator was a repeat offender in his 40’s, and the other was a repeat but a never caught before offender.

        Again; we are all entitled to an opinion, and my opinion, based on my life happenings, has a difficult time exposing my trust to any past violent offender.

        I hear and read all of the time how people think that we should let these hardened violent offenders have a normal existence once they serve the time. And I’m not being a smart ass when I tell you that most of the people that I’ve encountered saying this have the attitude that these past offenders should be able to live and leisure wherever they want as long as it isn’t in their neighborhood or near their children’s school or where their kids play.

        Perhaps many of you that have thrown your insults towards me in this forum have never really had a close experience with the traumatic outcomes of a violent sexual assault. If so, I am extremely happy for you, and pray that you go thru the rest of life without.

        The man that Fox 6 is reporting on in this story was a grown adult when he made the choices that he did. In my opinion, he was aware of the consequences if caught, but he took the gamble. Perhaps he has made a better man of himself due to his incarceration. But for everyone that feels that he’s getting the short end of the straw, I ask you this. Would you be willing to let this man live in your home with your family? Would you be comfortable having him for your next door neighbor if you had two teen aged daughters and both you and your spouse worked during the day?

        If you wouldn’t mind either of these situations, we agree to disagree because I wouldn’t be able to force myself to be comfortable with such a situation. You ask why? My response is that my family is way more valuable to me than some social engineering experiment.

        So as I continue in attempt to understand many of your obsessions with letting this person free in society, I hope that you also consider where I am coming from before you hurl more of your insults towards me.

        And one last note.
        I will be first to admit that Fox 6 seems to have a way of sticking up for the lawless and destructive individuals in our society. They have a way of pulling at your heart strings in attempt to make these people look like the victims.
        Well…. I agree with a previous post; why doesn’t Fox 6 look up the women that this man violated. Perhaps Fox 6 should report how the lives of these women has forever been changed. An impact much greater than having to sleep on a park bench for a few days or weeks before earning someone’s trust. This man only has to start over by earning trust one person at a time if he stays straight. The victims in most cases will never be able to trust again.

        Thank you for your time.

      • JR

        I am not going to call you un-american, nor will I say that once the bell has rung, it can’t be un-rung. I empathize with you, knowing the pain that you have felt on behalf of those you care most about. There are some very un-nice people in this fallen world.
        I agree with you that we are all entitled to our opinions. I am glad that you are acquainted with men who are on the registry and that you “have no problem with them”. That tells me you can see the man, before the label. I also understand your unwillingness to trust others that have perpetrated violent crimes. You are 100% NORMAL. And American and I thank you for your service.
        Where the challenge comes in is that there are some VERY VERY VERY DANGEROUS PEOPLE OUT THERE. Very Dangerous. These people need to be monitored, tracked, watched, supervised for a long long long time. I do not want them near my kids. Of the nearly 1 MILLION people on the registry, this would account for less than 5%. However there is no TIERED system for the most part. The 95% are grouped with the 5%. Resources are stretched thin at this time to monitor those who are most dangerous, because time and money is being spent on those 95% who are LEAST likely to reoffend ever again. AND as we add 10,000 more per MONTH, that number is staggering.
        The other BIG issue is a double edge sword. KNOWLEDGE. You may not have known that the recidivism rate is low. You may not have known that not ALL offenders are predators. You may not have known that a clinical diagnosis of Pedophilia is actually VERY RARE, yet the word is tossed around like people know what they’re talking about. You may not have known that 95+% of offenses are committed by family/friends or persons in authority. But, now that you DO know that, and you DO know 2 people on the registry, you MAY begin to engage in conversations that could be constructive in addressing the 95% and the draconian laws in place against them. BUT now lets pretend you are a politician. Love the money, the perks, the fame, the glam, the perks. NOW lets say you KNOW all these things. You know the registry does not provide a safety measure. You know stranger danger does not exist. You know residency restrictions cause more harm then good. You know offenders are normally 1 and done. Never reoffend. YOU KNOW this. But you love the PERKS. You need the VOTE. You know whats right, and you vote against whats right, you vote for the perks, the fame and the money.
        That’s the challenge my friend. There is uninformed. And there is ignorant. You are NOT IGNORANT. You are a concerned citizen. You are a victim. You have seen first hand what a world we live in. I would suggest that you know these two men. But you dont know their lives, their stories, or their challenges. Go meet them again. Ask them.
        They’ll tell you the truth. They always do. They have nothing left to hide.

        Peace to you my friend.

        Rob In Dallas. Hello to Mary Sue and Shelly,

      • Always Outspoken

        Sorry, reasonless, but I’m not buying your attempt to soften your statement.

        Your initial reply to me was quite obviously no more than a snarky attack on the point of my post – which was clearly stated as needing to establish restrictions that distinguish between violent, predatory offenders and others.

        You offered nothing else until you saw the outraged response to your callous and flippant remark, and the bell can’t be unrung.

      • Reasonless

        Again, you’re entitled to your opinion.
        I personally don’t care if you believe my intentions or not.
        I guess one of the biggest problems with electronic communication, is that you know nothing about me. Without knowing me, you can only assume my body language and tone of voice.
        You most likely feel that I was shouting at you and calling you a fool.
        Instead, I was challenging your challenge to the system.
        With the exception of the young kids that had consensual sex; where do you draw the line?
        People/ criminals, are great at lying in order to stay out or get out of prison.
        So would you be willing to let someone else make that determination that a violator is cured, and thus letting them live under your roof with your family?
        Perhaps you have self proclaimed yourself as a God of some kind that can read my heart along with the heart of all offenders.
        Good for you.

        Thank you for your civil response.
        As far as the two young men in my neighborhood; I have gotten to know them, and that’s how I know their story. I also witnessed how even though on the registry, they were able to overcome the downfalls by proving themselves to one person at a time.
        I’ll also admit that there are thousands of people with the same story as these two young men that shouldn’t be permanently marked.
        My concerns are about the violent offenders and the predators.
        I don’t care if the violator knew the victim or if they committed their crime upon first acquaintance.
        And someone that violates a family member, especially a child has inflicted permanent damage upon that individual along with other family members.
        I personally have a difficult time believing that incarceration and therapy can rewire that individuals brain to cover, override, or eliminate those tendencies and urges.
        Again; in my opinion, I feel that rape along with violent sexual crime can actually be worse than murder. With murder, yes, the victim is dead and the family and friends are devastated. With a sexual crime, especially when violent, the victim is forever a victim, and the family and loved ones see the results and damage forever.
        My original remarks, accused as being snarky, are in reference to the person in the story. Not a kid that had consensual sex with his underage girlfriend.

        To the individual that makes reference to the US being the only country on this planet that has a registry; I have witnessed third world countries where it’s acceptable to abuse and rape young children and women. I guess that they wouldn’t have a registry.

        So again; my UN-American, snarky, old non answer remarks are directed to the man in this story and the thousands of others out there that were old enough to know better.

      • Always Outspoken

        Reasonless – Backpedal all you want. Your original reply to me speaks for itself.

        You referenced “them all”, not the offender who is the subject of the story. You were also content to make your snide comment and nothing more – until, that is, you saw how many folks you alienated by doing so. Then you launched into a series of verbose attempts to justify your childish taunt and mitigate the outrage you spawned with the reply to me (as well as some other comments you posted which were inappropriate enough to be deleted by the moderators).

        Oh, and BTW – I never said I was a God, nor did I claim to know what dwells in the hearts of others. I can, however, read WORDS, and yours speak loud and clear in what you initially wrote.

      • Reasonless

        Call it whatever you want.
        It looks like we agree to disagree.
        Why don’t you show me what a great human being you are and walk the talk by going to the park and picking up Mr. Schechter, taking him home for dinner and let him live with you while he gets back onto his feet.
        After all; he served his 22 years and went thru therapy.
        You can have Fox 6 come to your home for weekly interviews to show Wisconsin what a wonderful caring person that you are and thus you can lead by example.

        As I stated earlier; most people that have all of the solutions to problems like this have one thing in common. They are willing to attempt whatever social experiment it takes to prove their theory, as long as it’s not in their neighborhood or any place where it will have impact on their normal day.

        And again; the point that you seem to miss is the fact that I’m talking about the violent offenders such as Mr. Schechter. Not some 18 year old kid that had a 17 year old encounter.
        It would appear that many people either don’t know, or the refuse to acknowledge in order to push their agenda, that not all released offenders are handled in the same manor.
        I’m not saying that it hasn’t happened somewhere, but I have never heard of or seen a young person that was sentenced from having consensual sex with a minor have to wear a GPS monitor after release.
        Mr. Schechter is obviously a high enough risk that he needs GPS monitoring. I believe that there is a reason for this, and if it wasn’t for technology. Mr. Schechter would most likely have to spend the rest of his life behind bars do to the severity of his past crimes.
        In other words, current technology has allowed more serious offenders shorter sentencing due to costs and overcrowding. And yet, almost monthly, you read about another serious offender having cut their GPS monitor off and dropping off of the grid.
        The two young men in my neighborhood never had GPS monitoring, and agree with me that this is for serious offenders with the potential of doing so again. When asked the extent of their probation; they each said that they need to register on a regular basis throughout the year regardless if they move or not, and for a certain number of years, they will be listed on the circuit court sex offender registry. On that registry, it clearly states what the offense was, and due to the type of people both of these young men are thru their actions, they have great jobs and have had few doors shut on them, those doors being shortly after their release. They are not banned from schools, children or playgrounds.
        I understand that the two individuals i speak of are not the template for all young offenders. This can be due to anything from what kind of Judge oversaw the case to the offender having poor legal representation or the victims family having a lot of money and influence to set an example along with feeling like they did the right thing in regards of some twisted revenge because their kid wasn’t as innocent as they thought.

        So the ball is in your court at this time.
        We have agreed to disagree, and I am looking forward to seeing you and your new found roommate on the next Fox 6 documentary as you truly lead by example and help Mr. Schechter get back onto his feet and become an outstanding pillar in the community.

      • Always Outspoken

        Reasonless – You sure like to post longwinded attempts to demonstrate how reasonable you are. Unfortunately, your initial reply shows your true mindset – the one that came naturally to you and wasn’t carefully scripted to paint a particular picture.

        Feel free to post yet another saga on how you’ve befriended your local neighborhood sex offenders and how compassionate you are about their plight – just don’t expect anyone to actually buy what you’re now trying to sell.

      • Reasonless

        You seem fixed on crying about your thin skinned sensitivity.
        I have listed several reasons explaining my take on this story, but you have been unable to respond to any.
        JR, who doesn’t agree with my thoughts, is able to post his reasons of disagreement.
        You, on the other hand, appear to have little experience or factual information to contribute to this post.
        This alone pretty much shows that you truly must be one of those people that is willing to apply your social experiment any place other than where you live.
        You have also demonstrated to be one of those people that is unable to have a discussion with someone that doesn’t agree with you.
        Unless you back your original rant by accepting my challenge, and give Mr. Schechter a home, you are nothing but talk and big ideas.
        You call explanations long rants, because you have no interest in how others think.
        JR, I would like to thank you for your input, along with your reasoning for your beliefs.
        As far as A.O., your true colors have shown, and you may have the last word after today, because you show ability to explain your silly rants on solution.

      • Actual American

        Actually, the “solution” with Mr. Schechter is very simple. A professional parole officer should individually monitor him and decide where/how he lives or works and people like you should have zero knowledge of him whatsoever. You should be told nothing about him. Just like would be done for anyone else who has committed any serious crime that did not involve S*X (!!!!!!).

        The S*x Offender Registries (SORs) are not legitimate because all the other Registries that must exist do not and they have also enabled and promoted laws that are not based on facts or reality.

        IF the SORs were actually only used as it was originally lied that they would be – to just “inform” people – then PERHAPS, MAYBE, POTENTIALLY, they could be somewhat acceptable to Americans. But of course that is far from reality. People living in the U.S. have so clearly proven that they cannot responsibly have and use SORs.

        There is no real debate about whether or not we should have SORs. Experts have NEVER supported them. Politicians and other people who gain from it do. Other than that, the only people who support them are uninformed or hateful.

        And I will help people like Mr. Schechter and have them around my home. I will go out of my way to do that and not worry about self-entitled, self-righteous, un-American harassers who cannot leave other people alone or mind their own business.

      • Tired of stupid laws

        To answer the question would I let a sex offender that I did NOT know live with me NO, but would I let any person I didn’t know live with me whether or not they were a sex offender NO, NO, NOT a CHANCE. Regardless of their status as a sex offender, I don’t want a stranger in my home. So the only way the question of “would you let a registered sex offender that you don’t know live in your home” could mean anything is if the person would let random strangers live in their home and most people would not allow that either. Do I have a problem with them living in my neighborhood. Not at all. I am more concerned about a chronic drunk driver or a murderer or a thief living in my neighborhood than I am someone who made a mistake as a kid and would go back and change it if they could. And no matter how you look at it, with the insanity of these laws, too many people on this list are a danger to NO ONE. The ones who are a danger simply shouldn’t be out on the streets. It is simply wrong to punish people who did something stupid because of what violent horrible people have done. That is all the sex offender registry does. Plus, why should someone who was a violent offender not do it again if all they have to look forward to is a life of misery?

      • Always Outspoken

        Reasonless – Wow. I see that you’ve now made the jump to full-on insults. That shows us all that you’ve run out of intelligent responses but are still desperate to get that last word in nonetheless.

        My “initial rant”, as you called it, outlined an idea to possibly partially solve the problem presented in the story, and your initial reply to me was “Perhaps they can all come live with you and your family …”. Hmmmmm – who did you say was ranting?

        It’s funny that you’ve had so many folks spoke out against you, but you’re the lone person calling me out – especially since I (according to you):
        “appear to have little experience or factual information to contribute to this post.”, and
        “have also demonstrated to be one of those people that is unable to have a discussion with someone that doesn’t agree with (me)”, and
        I am “…nothing but talk and big ideas.”, and
        I “call explanations long rants, because (I) have no interest in how others think.”, and
        I”show ability to explain (my) silly rants on solution.”

        Anyone who has or will read this thread will see the truth of my words and the deceit and desperation contained in yours. Go ahead and continue to live up to your moniker – I’m done with you.

    • Lucinda Kinlow

      I agree with Always Outspoken’s comments. We as a community Must Find a Solution to this problem… it is our problem. First it’s inhuman! When you lump every one into one mold, like all lairs are the same, all thieves are the same, all cheaters are the same, all people of a particular race are the same. Well we all know that’s not true. There are degrees but really a sin is a sin and a crime is a crime. We are such a throw away society. Greatness still resides in each one of us and we all have value. This man was in prison for 20 some years. The world has changed and it seems as though mercy has left the building. Yes he made mistakes and the details no one truly knows…. much like our lives. I’m sure every one reading this has hurt or violated someone. We need more compassion with wisdom when making decisions and forming opinions. With the same measure you judge another person, it Will Be The Same For You! Let’s talk solutions people… not judgement!

  • Robert

    Melissa, You are a moron. I wish we had laws restricting where YOU can live, because I certainly don’t want you in my neighborhood. This man was sentenced to prison for his crime. He served that time. Being homeless was NOT supposed to be part of his sentence, but that’s what these absurd restrictions are doing to people like him. And, even if you can’t show compassion for him as a human being, at least maybe you could get it through your simple brain that homeless sex offenders are MORE dangerous to you. Let them rebuild their lives, get jobs, find places to live… that makes them less likely to re-offend after they have served the sentence imposed by a judge.

    • Mel

      Based on our anger you are probably an offender also. Only another sick individual would attempt to excuse or blame his future crimes on woman. He should never get out of prison. He should have lived the rest of his days behind bars, his victims don’t have the luxury of erasing what this monster did. There is no compassion for him or other predators. You can not rehab that sickness. Like I said, he should live the rest of his life behind bars. So being homeless makes someone want to rape a woman? So given your logic then, if the public doesn’t get him a job or a home then we shouldn’t be surprised when he rapes again? It is sad that you have to name call, you seem to be a very angry person. I hope you get help.

    • Mel

      So you would rather have a rapist living next door to you than a law abiding citizen? Your logic is flawed. and that is wonderful. You can live next to the rapist, and I’ll live in a safe community with law abiding citizens :)

  • Mel

    I would never wish harm on anyone. In saying that, it is our duty and obligation to protect our woman and children, not make life comfortable or pleasant for the perpetrators of sexual crimes. I will never feel sorry for the predator. I have met too many victims to know that their life will ever be the same, even after 22 years of the perpetrator in prison. This is just another example of our country excusing the rapist and blaming the victim.

  • ed klawitter

    I agree with you one hundred percent. People act like we should feel sorry 4 him or something. To hell with that he’s a monster. He doesn’t deserve help. He should of thought about when he hurt those kids n u want me to feel putty funny but I could care less what happens to him

    • Robert

      I think a lot of people here are completely missing the point of this story. These ordinances are leaving sex offenders with very few options for housing, and no resources to help them find suitable housing. If we keep going in this direction, there will be NO WHERE for them to legally reside. Do you really want the streets to be filled with roaming, homeless sex offenders?? Does that sound like a “safe” community to you? Doesn’t it make more sense to allow them to find housing wherever they want, and then we can “keep an eye on ’em” because we know where they live? We don’t impose those restrictions on other felons (murderers who are released from prison, armed robbers, domestic abusers, animal abusers, etc. etc.) so why do we think it’s okay to impose them on sex offenders?

  • Robert

    I understand there is “another side” of the story … obviously the vicims of this man deserve compassion and justice. We hear plenty of stories about the victims. The point of this story, and I happen to agree, is that the current laws are not making Milwaukee any safer – they are creating more dangerous individuals who are more likely to offend. This guy was roaming around the city with no stability, and was ready to just give up and go back to prison. His crimes, according to a judge, did not warrant a life sentence. He served 22 years. Now he wants to return to society and become a productive member of our community. I believe we should give him that opportunity. It’s easy to have compassion for the victims, but to really make our community safer for everyone, we need to also have compassion and forgiveness for the perpetrators after they have served their time.

  • Mel

    At ROBERT, so if he sought therapy and is well enough to be released than we shouldn’t have to worry about him re-offending? If you want to sexually assault someone you will regardless of whether you live in a cardboard box or a mansion. A persons zip code does not determine whether or not they are going to rape someone. What is wrong with you. I can see if the crime is theft cause you are hungry, but humans do not,if of sound mind, ever have the desire to rape. We are talking about a criminal.

  • walloffthenorthside

    So nice of Fox 6 to show us how difficult it is to live as a released sex offender. More of their way of glorifying criminals. Will there be a story about following up with the lives of their victims to see how they’re having to cope? Putting them on a desert island in the middle of nowhere or sealing them in the sewer system is a good place for them.

    • Hope

      Perhaps a success story whereby the victims and the former offender have moved on beyond the agony would impress you. I’m thinking that most sex offenders would be a more reliable citizen generally because many of them want a second chance when compared to someone who sits behind a computer and throws stones who has had no reason to become humbled. Your responses definitely sound like you have some really affordable, healthy options. Maybe you should run for an elected office to promote your ideas. I once felt like you too. And I’d still agree with you if the majority did re-offend, but the majority don’t. P.S. Not all victims have the same hate and revenge you do. Not every instance is the same. P.S.S. Find something more positive to do with your insight.

      • WisconsinReform

        So are many 3rd and 4th offense drunk drivers in this state, yet we keep giving them their keys back to do it over and over again without much in the way of punishment or treatment it seems. This man spent 22 years in prison paying his debt to society and receiving treatment. That is far more than I can say for the thousands of repeat drunk driving offenders in this state.

        I’d say he is a safer offender to live by and work with than any convicted drunk driver who is 500% more likely to commit the same offense repeatedly compared to the recidivism rate of a sex offender.

  • SPTruth

    If this was an 18 y/o that had sexual contact with his 17 y/o girlfriend that turns 18 in 2 months that would be another story. This man spent 22 years in prison for his crimes, are you kidding me, sorry I don’t feel sorry for you.

    • Hope

      Amazing how 22 years in prison means nothing. Yeah, always a standard to base someone’s likelihood of being a danger on the number of year they’ve spent in prison. What if the 17 yr old was 4 months shy of turning 18? What of a 16 yr old girl was attracted to an 18 yr old? Gosh, wow, that’s just unheard of! Being covicted of a sex crime does not indicate the level of risk someone poses some 20 years later. There are far more factors than the type of crime. We may hate what they did, but it is no more a risk factor than your observation.

      • SPtruth

        Generally the length of sentence has to do with the severity of the crime. For example this guy raped a child, so yes in my opinion 22 years means nothing to me because the victim has to live with this for the rest of their lives just as he should. Not to mention they get to see him try to play the part of victim now. If you want to support a child molester go ahead and invite him into your home.

    • holocaust21

      The fact he spent 22 years in prison tells us NOTHING about him it merely tells us how barbaric the US criminal “justice” system is. The courts are completely kangaroo. For example, men get sentenced to hundreds of years in prison merely for VIEWING child porn! Child porn is of course a completely victimless crime that is supposed to be protected by the 1st amendment but apparently free speech doesn’t apply to child porn (unless of course it’s FBI agents distributing child porn as part of an entrapment operation – how ironic!).

  • Aimee & James

    How? Wisconsin comes after you if you don’t comply with the registry. I agree, though, the registry and the ordinances are unconstitutional.

    • Rudy101

      The registry is clearly an illegal ex-post facto punishment. I can’t be punished twice or continually and done outside of a court of law. Nobody will come after me or even utter my name. These laws are so far outside of accepted legal standards that they have zero credibility. I will NEVER go back on it to serve an illegal punishment.

  • Terry evans

    The USA is the only country on earth with a public sex offender registry & the only country with residency restrictions. No one else has copied the American lead as they increase recidivism. In addition, they cause catastrophic social harm including the epidemic of homelessness among registrants the USA is manufacturing. Sentencing people to sleeping on the streets is the epitome of “cruel and unusual”. Remember also that routine prosecution of consenual teen sex in Wisconsin where there is no close in age exception and the age of adult criminal responsibility is 17 means many of those sleeping in alleys are Romeo and Juliet offenders. Matt Parmley is on the registry in Sheboygan because his 14 year old girlfriend was more than 4 years older by a couple of months when he was 18. He could be forced to sleep in a park…,

  • Shelly Stow

    Yes, there is a difference between teens having willingly mutual sex and one being over “the age” and a man who has forcibly raped. However, for neither is what is described in this article the path to a safer society. What is the goal here? Hopefully, it is that Mr. Schecter does not re-offend. What is the broader goal for the community and society? Surely it is to do that which will improve public safety. Neither public notification nor its evil twin residency restrictions contribute to either goal. If fact, research verifies that they will, if anything, make society less rather than more safe. Until we are willing to implement laws that are based on facts and evidence, this situation will not improve, and since this seems to be what the majority of the public wants, then it will be on all of our heads when it all comes tumbling down.

  • dave

    screw this guy, he committed forceful sexual assault against a woman so he deserves a difficult life. He will never change. go live in the woods away from society.

    • VoiceOfReason

      Seems like most everyone here is in agreeance that this sex offender deserves this additional punishment of residency restrictions and homelessness. I can understand why everyone wants to punish this man, even after his 22 year long sentence has been completed. However, if you feel this way, then you are in fact agreeing with many legal professionals that these laws are intended to be additional punishment, which would mean that they are UNCONSTITUTIONAL and therefore illegal. If you agree that they should be punished more, then you are saying that these laws should be banned. The ONLY reason these laws are still in effect is because the Supreme Courts are still debating whether they are constitutional or not. If these laws are deemed as punishment (punitive), then they are not constitutional, and therefore need to be repealed. You see, the Constitution says that you can not be punished for a crime TWICE…so after you complete a prison sentence and released, you can no longer be punished for that crime…therefore, any law that is deemed “Punitive” (such as residency restriction and the registry itself) would be considered unconstitutional. So, be careful about what your argument is….you might get what you wish for.

      • Reasonless

        I really never saw the registry as a form of punishment.
        I see it as a caution flag for the innocent and vulnerable.
        I truly believe that the past offender has every opportunity to win peoples trust back one person at a time. It is entirely up to them.
        No one ever said that getting out from incarceration would be a cake walk. Life is full of consequences, and all of us live up to them unless you’re in some kind of bubble.
        I believe its called starting over.
        Some stick to it and earn the respect back, others stick to the Fox 6 rule and cry victim.

      • Always Outspoken

        Reasonless – See, that’s the problem. These offenders are on the sex offender registry FOREVER. They will be unable to live in these places FOREVER. There is no way for them to get the chance to “earn the respect back” that even you say they deserve – and that includes ALL “sex offenders”, not just the violent or predatory ones.

    • holocaust21

      Sexual assault is a very minor crime. Even actions as daft as touching a woman’s bum is considered sexual assault. Infact, ironically touching a woman’s bum would not be classed as assault but it IS classed as sexual assault. If sexual assault is supposed to be a specific type of assault then that makes no sense and suggests that “sexual assault” is a misleading term. The offence “sexual assault” would be better described as a “bum-touching” offence which is what I prefer to call it.

  • JR

    Can you imagine if ALL drunk drivers were prevented from living near, entering into, or within 2000 ft of an establishment that served or sold alcohol? (Drunk driving recidivism is in top 5 categories of repeat offenders).Isn’t there a difference between the guy who gets in a wreck and injures a family of 4 for the 3rd time, and the 17 year old who fell asleep sitting in his car outside a house, but had his keys with him? OF COURSE THERE IS.
    Can you imagine if ALL people convicted of theft were prevented from living near, entering into or within 2000 ft of an establishment that SOLD anything. Isn’t there a difference between the dick head who stole my car and has 5 priors, and the 17 year old who stole a pack of cigarettes? OF COURSE THERE IS.
    Can you imagine if ALL people convicted of Drug Possession were charged the same regardless of quantity and intent?

    EVERY OTHER CRIMINAL CHARGE has varying degrees based on severity. People are charged, prosecuted and serve their sentence as charged. Then they are allowed to MOVE on.

    NOT SO WITH SEX OFFENDERS. Regardless of offense, time served, time passed since offense, you are given a LIFE SENTENCE. Lowest recidivism rate in the nation. MOST RESTRICTIVE/LONG TERM sentence in the WORLD.

    Rob In Dallas.
    Hello Mary Sue

  • Jenny

    It’s not about whether you support this guy.

    It’s about my kids safety. This man has paid his price and has been released. To successfully integrate back into society he needs a place to live and a job.

    If he doesn’t successfully integrate his chances of throwing up his hands and committing another crime goes up.

    By not allowing past offenders to normalize back into society we put ourselves at risk.

    Do you want these guys sleeping in parks? No.

    So whether you like him or not isn’t the point.

    The point is we are all safer if ex cons (for any crime) can move on with their lives.

    Had his crime been murder or drug dealing or armed robbery he’d be released and able to live anywhere he pleased. Why do we treat a sex offender worse than a murderer?

    These laws cost us too much money and provide zero return and most likely put us (and my kids!) in danger.

    We need to abolish them and spend the money on preventing crime.

  • Just a Mom

    My son is a registered sex offender. When he was 19 he used a dating App “MeetMe”. He met and dated a girl he met on the App who listed her age as 17. He went to her house and fixed her truck, talked about what colleges she was applying to, talked about going to her senior prom together, everything a “Normal” senior would do. Then they slept together…then her mother found out…then the cops were called. Apparently she was only 14 (turned 15 while dating) and, according to her mother, she “had a thing” for older guys and they “thought they made her delete that profile”. He had absolutely no idea. She admitted she lied, Her parents admitted they knew, but did nothing to insure she wasn’t still lying about her age. They thought they would “teach her a lesson” and report it to the cops. Only problem, in Texas her lying about her age isn’t a defense. He’s sitting in prison for 5 years, has to register for life as a sex offender and we have paid thousand in attorney’s fees. Meanwhile, she met and dated a guy 6 years older than her and has gotten pregnant. I guess she didn’t learn her lesson. All sex offenders are NOT the same. Herding everyone labeled as one into tent city’s, economically challenged neighborhoods and legislating them out of the cities where the real dangerous ones need to be to be monitored is not the answer. They already have “Tiers” in Texas – it would be very simple for the court, when sentencing these people to have their offenses “rated” so as to determine their level of “monitoring” and what rules they need to follow. But it’s so much easier for everyone to label them without knowing anything about them and then throw them all together. Just makes you feel better to be “hard on crime” without really knowing what that means. The registry in Texas grows at a rate of nearly 10,000 people per year. You all know we are not adding enough police to “monitor” that many people. So of those 10,000, how many are like my son? Does he scare you? Would you care if he lived next to you? Do you think he’s dangerous? Want to spend your tax dollars for the upkeep that having him on the registry for life entails? This is why the registry is broken. This is why it needs to be fixed. Wake up America!

  • Duane A. Webb

    Referring to a freed U.S. Citizen as an ‘offender’ is completely erroneous – and only perpetuates the slanderous label that is routinely used to deny them their full citizenship.

    An ‘offender’ is an individually currently incarcerated for committing an ‘offense’.

  • Actual American

    Politicians like Bob Donovan are scumbags. There is a literal pile of evidence that shows that “residency restriction” laws do not protect anyone. But politicians never care about actual reality. They care about lies and propaganda.

    And what I find unbelievable about criminals like Bob Donovan is that they don’t care at all what kind of crime a person has committed, UNLESS the crime involved S*X!!! If you have gone into a school and shot children with guns, then “no problem”, you are not a danger to anyone and can live right next door to a school if you like. Just as long as you did not touch a grown women’s rear end without her permission. That alone is complete proof that these laws don’t have anything to do with “protecting children”, “public safety”, or any of the other lies that scumbags like Donovan tell.

    There is not one single American who supports these laws. Not one.

  • WisconsinReform

    If he goes back to prison to find a roof over his head I want the citizens of MILWAUKEE to pay the $35,000/year it costs to house him. For this is THEIR fault that he is unable to find a place to live.

    I am so ashamed to call myself a Wisconsin Citizen for the way we treat people.

  • Sheila Moyet

    I can fully understand these laws to keep sex offenders out of neighborhoods, however does putting them on the streets with no place to go protect anyone?…No! New laws need to be made. What about giving them homes out in secluded areas where they are alone? Something needs to be done besides passing the buck.

  • Terry

    As I pointed out in my prior post: The USA is the only country on earth with a public sex offender registry and residency restrictions. The empirical data, the scientific evidence says these increase recidivism. Private police-only registries like the UK or Canada or France have reduce recidivism.

    The USA is ruining lives of registrants, their families (most are parents) and causing recidivism which ruins the lives of their future victims.

    Also remember that many of these people are non-offenders like Austin Yabandith of Superior Wisconsin who is featured in this week as he is facing child rape and child porn charges as an adult at the age of 17 for having consenual sex with his 15 year old girlfriend and filming it on his smartphone. These people have ruined lives for no reason. Real actual offenders like featured in this story are not nice people but the registry and residency makes them MORE LIKELY TO REOFFEND which is not what we want. See the research of JJ Prescott of the Univerisity of Michigan.

    This is just part and parcel of the American system of injustice which incarcerates 5-10 times as many people when adjusted for population as do other Western democracies. American justice: incarceration rate of 700 per 100,000. France, Canada, Italy are all around 100-120 per 100,000. Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland are all around 60-80.

    In concrete terms: 35,000 in prison and jail in South Carolina – 42,000 in Canada with 35 million people. 60,000 in prison and jail in Arizona – the same as Italy, a country of 60 million. Louisiana has 40,000 under sentence and 10,000 in pre-trial detention – Norway has the same population as Louisiana and has 3000 people incarcerated. Louisiana literally cages 16-17 times as many people as the Norwegians do – if that is not mass incarceration, what is? The USA even cages more people than the Soviet Union did at the height of the Gulags or China during the Cultural Revolution.

    Are you safer than Canadians or Germans or Italians? No. Your crime rates are higher, especially homicide.

      • JR

        ENOUGH. The degradation of these responses is pitiful. None of these last two responses have any benefit to the issues at hand. You sound like school children on a playground. Log off and go home. Your services are no longer needed.

    • mike

      I support your decision to end your life to give that man a home. No greater sacrifice can be asked of you and i salute you. This will make that man incredibly happy. Just don’t do it in your house as leaving a mess behind is rude

  • Herk

    They RSO’s can sue just like everywhere else in the Unted States and win. Residency Restriction is against the constitution.

  • Rochelle D

    Assisting sex offenders to find housing and employment upon release is a benefit to society. Any suggestion that this is in some way coddling them is false. Forcing them to wander the streets risking violation of their conditions of parole or probation because of a hodge podge of laws does nothing to further the cause of justice. It just disincentivizes doing the right thing. If a person cannot successfully reenter society and become a vested member of the community then they have little incentive to abide by the rules of that society. We cannot leave peopel on the fringe of society and expect them to function optimally as a part fo the system.

  • karen

    I just don’t understand how our DOJ, Police Depts. and many of the judicial people in office can find it to be okay to send a sex offender out on their own with nowhere to live. It doesn’t help anybody. Either they will do something to go back because they at least get a roof over their head and food in their stomache. Or they will reoffend and hurt someone else. I agree that our laws need to change in Wisconsin because alot of sex offenders crimes are not that harsh that you should have to be on a list that makes life impossible to move on and become a law abiding citizen. What is wrong with our court system is my question? Who thinks releasing someone from prison to be homeless is gonna make anyones life better?

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