Salem Lakes rejects appeal of sex ordinance decision and request for exemption

The Salem Lakes Village Board rejected an appeal of a decision under the village’s sex offender residency ordinance and an initial request for an exemption under the same ordinance at its regular monthly meeting Monday.

The appeal was from Jeffrey Spencer, who was seeking to be allowed to live in Silver Lake about 900 feet from a park. The village’s current ordinance requires that registered sex offenders live 1,500 feet or farther from protected areas where children congregate, such as schools, parks and churches.

Spencer’s initial request for an exemption to the ordinance was made last year. The matter was tabled twice and then ultimately rejected by a split decision of the board at a Sept, 17 special board meeting.

Meanwhile, the Village Board at a Dec. 10, 2018 meeting reduced the distance from a protected area to 1,500 feet.

Spencer said he decided to appeal given that the standard was changed.

“I’m here to throw myself at your mercy,” Spencer said Monday.

Spencer, a former teacher, pleaded guilty to two counts of child enticement in 2015. In earlier appearances before the board he said he has served his prison time and received treatment. He has found steady employment outside of education. The address in Silver Lake where he was looking to live is a home his girlfriend recently purchased.

Village President Diann Tesar moved to grant the appeal and allow Spencer to live at the Silver Lake address. That motion was seconded by Trustee Ron Gandt who said about Spencer “it takes a hell of a man to stand up there.”

The motion was defeated with Trustees Ted Kmiec, Dennis Faber and Bill Hopkins voting against Tesar’s motion. Trustees Mike Culat and Dan Campion were absent.

Also Monday, the board voted against a request from Dakota Hensley for an exception to the sex offender residency ordinance. That Silver Lake address was within 414 feet of a protected area. Hensley was not present at the meeting, The rejection of the request for an exemption was approved unanimously.

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