01STOCK_COURTHOUSE_ROCKCOUNTY2

JANESVILLE

It took four meetings of Rock County’s 980 Temporary Committee to find housing for a sexually violent person who is being released from a treatment facility.

The committee voted Thursday morning to file a report with the state Department of Health Services that identifies housing for Mark Taber. The location is 11046 E. County N, town of Lima.

Once the county files its report, state officials have 30 days to submit their report to Rock County Court.

Greg Winkler, a behavioral health division manager with the Rock County Department of Human Services who leads the committee, said Thursday he has learned much about the new committee’s work. Those lessons will be helpful because the county must soon find housing for another sexually violent person.

“I realized today that when we have the active cooperation of all of the members of this committee, which we have … it makes sense,” Winkler said.

“I feel a lot more comfortable with the way this group is functioning. Everybody is showing up and everybody’s pulling their weight and doing their part.”

The committee consists of Winkler; a state Department of Health Services representative; a county planning department official; a county corporation counsel representative; and a parole officer.

Starting this year, counties are required by state law to find housing for sexually violent persons who are residents of the county and are scheduled to be released from treatment.

People found under Wisconsin Statute 980 to be sexually violent offenders suffer from a mental disorder and are highly likely to re-offend. They cannot live within 1,500 feet of schools, churches, child-care centers, parks, places of worship or youth centers.

In Taber’s case, he also cannot live adjacent to children because he is a child sex offender.

In a report filed March 14, the Rock County Sheriff’s Office found that children live near the residence identified for Taber, but the committee determined that children did not live at properties adjacent to the location.

The county recently learned it must find housing for another sexually violent person who will soon be released from the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston.

Byron Conner, 44, was convicted in 2002 on three counts of first-degree sexual assault/use of a dangerous weapon and three counts of kidnapping/seizing or confining without consent.

Conner is not a child sex offender.

Winkler said the committee will continue to convene regularly and discuss available housing options. He said he now feels more at ease with the process.

“We are finding a way to make it work in Rock County,” Winkler said.