Paris amends sex offender ordinance to close loophole

When Paris officials recently questioned the placement of a convicted sex offender in the town, they found a big difference in how the state and the town define “home.”

The town thought the phrase “home community” in its sex offender residency ordinance meant Paris. The state Department of Corrections felt “home community” meant anywhere in Kenosha County.

The difference was not trivial. The state’s interpretation of “home” allowed it to place a sex offender in the town recently. That placement would not have been allowed under the town’s interpretation.

The Paris ordinance does not allow a sex offender to be placed within 6,500 feet of certain places where children congregate, such as schools. churches and day care facilities.

An exception is made for sex offenders who were from the home community, which the town felt was Paris. In those cases, the buffer was 500 feet.

To close the loophole, the Town Board adopted an amendment to the town’s ordinance Tuesday night that clearly defined home community as meaning only Paris.

“We don’t want the town of Paris to be the dumping ground for everyone from Kenosha just because we have a facility or two willing to take them,” town attorney John Knuteson said.

Knuteson said the amendment could not be retroactive to the current placement.

But Supervisor Ken Monson said he read the ordiance as not allowing a renewal of a lease with a sex offender. That should make the current placement for a limited amount of time.

Knuteson agreed, after reveiwing the language.


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