Milwaukee sex offender residency restrictions loosened

Posted at 6:29 PM, Sep 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-08 19:29:28-04

An effort to change where sex offenders can live is underway. City leaders have loosened regulations on how they enforce residency restrictions.

Some sex offenders may soon live anywhere they want. The old ordinance prevented them from living within 1,500 feet of schools, day cares or playgrounds.

"Yes, it's kind of scary but you have to also recognize the potential liability for the taxpayers of the city are substantial," said Alderman Michael Murphy.

A recent lawsuit challenging the City of Milwaukee claims restrictions are unconstitutional. The repeal now allows sexual offenders to live anywhere in the city without limitations in terms of distance, something that has been in place since 2015.

However, there is still a provision that prohibits sexual offenders to live in any community of their choosing. They have to live in the community where they committed the offense.

Don Mulder, the lead plaintiff in this lawsuit, is grateful things are moving in the right direction; however he does believe the provision needs to go.

"We shouldn't be ousted out of the entire society as a scarlet letter. I need to live just like the next person needs to live," said Mulder.

In two weeks, Mulder says he and seven other plaintiffs will still fight this provision in front of a judge. He says they're hoping to find the right way to make things 100 percent lawful.

"It's been very difficult; I've wasted thousands and thousands of dollars and a lot of heartache trying to find a place to live," said Mulder.

This new ordinance does not apply to violent sexual offenders. Alderman Murphy expects Mayor Barrett to sign the ordinance soon.