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Registered sex offender lands in Lisbon

Sussex cautiously considering sex offender residency ordinance

Aug. 8, 2011

Lisbon - Town officials say they are already receiving complaints from residents of the Willow Springs Mobile Home Park that a registered sex offender, Anthony A. Suslick, 70, moved into their Lisbon neighborhood last week.

Deputy Clerk Sandi Gettleman said there were four or five telephone calls to town hall protesting Suslick's presence in the mobile home park within about 48 hours of the Waukesha County Sheriff's office notifying town officials and the mobile home park residents that Suslick will be residing at Unit H42 at N65 W22201 Silver Leaf Drive.

State law requires that individuals convicted of sex offenses must register in the Sex Offender Registration Program, and state and local law enforcement and correctional officials notify municipalities and neighborhoods of the residency of a registered sex offender.

Using monitoring device

Stephanie Hove of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections said Suslick will be living alone in the mobile home wearing an electronic monitoring device and his activities will be chaperoned. He is prohibited from frequenting locations where children congregate, he cannot be near schools, and can only leave his mobile home to seek employment and purchase food and other necessities when accompanied by a chaperon.

State officials were required to release Suslick from the Oshkosh Correctional Facility in May, after serving 12 years of an approximately 15-year sentence. He will remain under the supervision of a parole agent until 2013. He was convicted in 1999 of repeatedly sexual assaulting a female acquaintance in front of her 2-year-old son in 1996. He was also convicted in 1965 of indecent behavior with a child.

Suslick was temporarily held in the Waukesha County Jail after his release from state prison because corrections officials could not find a home for him. He was later released as a homeless sex offender until members of his family moved him to the mobile home owned by the family members, according to Hove.

Sussex discussing ordinance

Meanwhile, the village of Sussex continued discussions last week on whether it should adopt a local ordinance that would restrict the movements of registered sex offenders and where they could live in the village. The initial discussions began several months ago and discussion at the Aug. 4 Public Safety Committee had been scheduled prior to the Department of Correction and Waukesha County Sheriff's department announcement that Suslick was residing in Lisbon.

Sussex and Lisbon are among a few communities in the region that do not have local ordinances placing restrictions on registered sex offenders.

During the Aug. 4 Public Safety Committee meeting, Assistant Village Administrator Melissa Weiss was rattling off the long list of communities in southeastern Wisconsin that have adopted local registered sex offender ordinances.

"Maybe it would be simpler if you just told us the communities that don't have an ordinance," quipped Trustee Tim Dietrich.

"Everyone I have talked to thinks we ought to have some kind of ordinance," added Public Safety Committee Chairman Jim Batzko.

Batzko and several of the committee members agreed there is a public perception that without such an ordinance, registered sex offenders would move into the village because most of the surrounding communities have local laws restricting where they can live and the places they can frequent.

"Politically, this is a feel-good ordinance," added Dietrich.

Police Services Director Lt. James Gumm, of the Waukesha County Sheriff's office, advised the committee that the Department of Corrections has concerns about local ordinances. According to department officials, sex offenders on parole or probation are less honest with parole agents because where they live and some of the locations they frequent may be in violation of a local ordinance, Gumm said.

Gumm, who emphasized he was not taking a position on whether the village should adopt an ordinance, said the village could be susceptible to lawsuits as a result of attempting to restrict where sex offenders may live and frequent, particularly if the offenders have completed their sentences.

"You have to be careful about how you try to restrict someone who was convicted a crime but has paid their price to society," he noted.

The Public Safety Committee asked the staff to continue to research the issue and prepare to conduct a public hearing.

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