Sex Offender Is Released "Too Close" to Victim

By KBJR News 1

August 2, 2012 Updated Aug 3, 2012 at 12:56 PM CST

DOUGLAS CO., WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - It's a nightmare come true for a young Northland mother.

A Douglas County sex offender was released only a couple of blocks from where she, one of his former victims, lives.

The Northland's NewsCenter explored how it happened and what the victim has to say about it.

It's been years since the victim, now a grown woman, last saw her offender.

"I didn't know what was going on, and he just kept saying, 'oh it's fun. You'll like it. You'll like it," said the victim.

Her identity is concealed for confidentiality and safety reasons.

"Then as you grow older, you realize this isn't what it's supposed to be like. I heard my friends talking about their first times, and I kept thinking that's not how my first time was."

She got the news only days before the release that he was moving in a couple of blocks from her home.

It was little consolation that he would be living there only temporarily.

"It feels like someone is ripping out my heart and stomping on it, spitting on it."

The placement was the authorities' decision.

"We didn't have the information on where she was," said Aaron Lenmark of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

A letter had been sent to the victim's old address, as the offender was moved into secure transitional housing close to her new neighborhood.
Authorities say they believed this placement was the best option available.

"We do not want him to be homeless. We want to be able to track him 24 hours a day. It makes the community as safe as it can be," said Lenmark.

Aaron Lenmark says better communication among victims and parole officers and agents can be key for a successful transition, a hard lesson the victim has since learned.

"Making that contact and knowing that this is where I am. I'm here and we can certainly take safeguards," said Lenmark.

Since notifying authorities of her location, no changes have been made, leaving her afraid to let her children outside.

"You can't underestimate these people. You can't," said the victim.

Which is why, Lenmark says, the safest place for level three sex offenders, is in closely monitored housing.

"I get it rationally, but emotionally and as an overprotective mother, I don't," the victim said.

Sex offenders can stay in transitional housing for up to 90 days, in which time they are expected to find a permanent residence.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike
jpike@northlandsnewscenter.com