HANOVER — The state will not renew a contract to house sexually violent offenders in a Hanover home, and the current offender will be moved out by March 31, Sen. Tim Cullen said.
The state placed two men committed under the state's sexually violent offender law into the home at 8121 W. Mill St. in Hanover last May. One of the offenders died in November, and the remaining offender will be moved out by the time the state's lease expires March 31, Cullen said.
"I'm very happy that they decided that (not to renew the lease). It's good news for the people," said Cullen, who has been working with state officials about residents' concerns since the placement.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which oversees placements for sexually violent offenders, could not confirm the decision by The Gazette's deadline.
Cullen said he couldn't speak for the Department of Health Services, but it appeared the ongoing concern from the community played a role in the department's decision to not renew the lease in Hanover, population 181.
Hanover is about 10 miles southwest of Janesville.
Cullen said he got the impression that communities often are deeply concerned at the beginning of an offender's placement, but the concern usually fades.
"But the community concern never dropped off in Hanover just because it's isolated from a police force" and families with young children live within view of the home, he said.
Residents made ongoing contacts with Cullen's office and other state offices, he said.
At a public meeting before the men moved in, Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden said deputies would stop at the home at least once per shift to check on the men. Deputies have continued regular patrols.
The remaining resident, Clayton J. Smith, 51, is scheduled to be in Rock County Court on Feb. 28. It was not clear Thursday where Smith will live after March 31.
The former resident, William H. Stuit, 65, died Nov. 22 at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center, Janesville. He died from a brain injury after falling from his wheelchair in his home, according to court documents. The death was ruled an accident.
Cullen is drafting legislation he plans to introduce in the next session that would prohibit placement of individuals committed under the sexually violent offender law into communities that don't have municipal police departments.
Part of the reason for his proposal was to send a message to state officials, he said.
"I think the policy is a good one, and I did it specifically to get their attention, and it seems to have worked," he said.