Sheriff and state representative weigh in on Wheatland sex offender placement

With the placement of  sex offender in a Wheatland home ordered by a Racine County Circuit Court Judge this week, two elected officials that objected to the placement reacted with strong statements Friday.

State Rep. Tyler August

State Rep. Tyler August

The case relates to the state’s placement of Michael McGee of Racine County in a Wheatland house in the 32200 block of Highway 50 starting May 20. McGee is part of the state Department of Health Services Supervised Release program for sex offenders. The state had not been able to find a residence for McGee in Racine County and was ordered by Judge Torhorst to look in Kenosha County. The state contacted the landlord of the Highway 50 home because they had used it for sex offenders before and found it was available. But local government and law enforcement officials mobilized to block the placement, in part because a one year old lives next door to the subject property.

After a hearing Tuesday in which Kenosha County officials argued against the placement, Judge Torhorst order the placement to move forward within 10 days. In his decision, Torhorst said he did not find merit in any of Kenosha County’s arguments presented Tuesday, including that the court was not previously made aware by the state of the presence of a 1-year-old child next door.

In his statement, State Rep. Tyler August suggested he will seek a legislative solution to stop future occurances like the Wheatland placement.

“I’m very disappointed in Judge Torhorst’s decision to place a Racine-area sex offender into Kenosha County. It is extremely frustrating to have the judicial branch ignore a bill we passed in the legislature this past session to prevent this very thing from happening. Although there is nothing legislatively I can do to stop this current situation, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature next session to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Sheriff David Beth

Sheriff David Beth

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth’s statement came in the form of a communication to his fellow Wisconsin sheriffs sent via email. In the communication, Beth is harshly critical of DHS.

Beth detailed how he felt his department was not fully informed about the McGee, and that details later found out would have heightened the sheriff’s department’s concern.

“The person we were told was being considered was a low risk,” Beth said. “We have come to find out, the hard way, that the sex offender being placed in there now is at the top of the list for VIOLENT Sex Offenders.  One of his major offenses that placed him in prison for many years was a burglary and sexual assault.  When he was released years later he re-offended in a few weeks and was charged with sexually assaulting a 10- year old child.  The State said it was family so is should not be a concern to the community.”

Beth is critical of DHS for saying his department had no objection to the McGee placement when he contends his department was not aware of teh placement in Wheatland until after it had been ordered by a Racine County judge.

To his fellow sheriffs, Beth advised:

My warning is to make your staff aware the DHS will ask for your input on a residence in your county and will not be forth coming on exactly who they are trying to place there. They will use your generic report against you to say you were not opposed to placement. Make sure your department accurately states your concerns for placement in that residence or you will get it stuck up you know where. I have no faith DHS will be honest to any of our departments in the placement of Violent Sex Offenders.”

Beth’s entire communication to the state’s sheriffs is here.

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2 Comments

  1. ROULETTE with US! says:

    Wisconsin has two very big problems!

    One is drunks
    and
    the other is sex offenders.

    WHEN is someone at the state level going to make changes in the laws to protect US?

    The time to act is NOW!

    The issue in Town Of Wheatland Kenosha is absurd and those in state office are
    the ones responsible. DHS is pathetic and the lacking of prisons and
    laws to keep violent people IN THEM is absurd. Creating a PRISON in a neighborhood is NOT acceptable.

    We elected you to do the job to protect us.

    On these two fronts, you ALL are failing.

    Linda Valentine

  2. Bernard Punsley says:

    Well,what a “white-wash” this is……Mr. Tyler(Wanngard, Kerkman, et al) and his Republican cohorts ENACTED the CURRENT LEGISLATION in 2015(Act 156). The law TOOK AWAY the local community’s ( eg, Wheatland) ability to deal with sexual predators living in their community. “The State Knows Better”! So now, when a judge ENFORCES the law(you know…”upholds the Constitution”)…..the same folks that wrote the law are conveniently blaming the judge. I don’t fault Sheriff Beth, he is right on the money with his assessments. Now, Representative Tyler is proposing
    a “legislative solution” to the very problems HE helped CREATE! Meanwhile, the silence from Wanngard & Kerkman is DEAFENING!!

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