TOWN OF FULTON
Neighbors are upset the state has placed a “sexually violent person” in a house in a rural subdivision south of Edgerton.
Neighbors were notified Friday evening that Byron G. Conner, 45, would move in Monday, said Brandon Clift, whose home is next to the residence at 9710 N. Arrowhead Shores Road.
Conner was placed after release from the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston, where he was held for many years.
Clift said his daughter’s bedroom is 100 feet from Conner’s doorstep.
Clift called government agencies and was told there wasn’t anything he could do, he said.
“It’s just been a nightmare. It’s like nobody takes their job seriously,” Clift said.
The Gazette received notification Friday and published a story about it.
Clift noted state rules won't let Conner live within 1,500 feet of a park, daycare, school or place of worship, but he said a church might be used for several hours a week, while Conner is placed next door to where his daughter sleeps every day.
Clift has found county maps showing the original plat of Arrowhead Shores Estates, which shows an Iroquois Park, a narrow strip along the Rock River, that he says is less than 500 feet from Conner’s residence.
The county parks director was not familiar with the park.
Clift said neighbors have asked state legislators to convene a meeting for residents. A spokeswoman for Rep. Don Vruwink, D-Milton, confirmed that’s being discussed.
Edgerton resident Jay Pretty, who has a Facebook page called Worldwide Predator Hunters, has announced a protest at the residence Wednesday.
Cmdr. Erik Chellevold of the sheriff’s office said Tuesday that people have the right to assemble but not to trespass.
The state’s sex offender registry indicates local law enforcement was notified about Conner on July 24. The bulletin was intended “to highlight those cases that may pose a significant risk to the community,” according to the website.
The bulletin “serves as a mechanism to begin a local decision-making process to determine the level, scope and method of community notification, if determined necessary.”
Capt. Jude Maurer was part of the team meeting July 31, when law enforcement and officials from probation and parole and the state Department of Corrections sex registry program discussed Conner’s placement and decided what to announce to the public.
Maurer said deputies went door to door on Friday, distributing the notice of Conner’s placement. The goal was to distribute the flyer within one mile of the house, Maurer said.
Maurer said he was first notified last Wednesday that Conner would be moved to the house Monday. The sheriff’s office doesn’t like to notify residents too early so people are not upset unnecessarily if a placement is called off, he said.
For those who weren’t home when deputies arrived, the flyers were left in a place where it wouldn’t fly away, Maurer said. Deputies are not allowed to use mailboxes.
The state Department of Health Services referred questions to its Supervised Release Program web site, which states that Conner is one of about 65 sexually violent persons placed in communities statewide.
“Individuals on supervised release face much stricter conditions than other released sex offenders, including required chaperones virtually anytime they leave the house for at least the first year; real-time satellite monitoring of their movements; frequent home and work visits; and polygraph tests to ensure they are following program rules,” according to the website.
A court can return the person to custody if he violates the rules. The restrictions are eased as time passes and if the person commits no violations.
Neighborhood resident Ashley Albright sent a letter to The Gazette, saying offenders such as Conner should not be placed without a “consensus.”
“The (property) owner will not have to worry about their property value or their safety, we will,” Albright wrote. “If a registered offender is not living here, then another criminal will be placed at this location.”
The state website says those treated at Sand Ridge can petition the court for release every 12 months, and if the court determines they “are no longer more likely than not to reoffend,” the court orders either community living on supervised release or discharge with no supervision.