A new Weston ordinance approved Monday stops registered sex offenders from living or loitering within 250 feet of designated areas including: schools, parks, libraries and recreation trails.
According to the Dept. of Corrections, Weston has about 25 registered sex offenders, some who are on active supervision. Marathon County has 380 registered sex offenders.
The ordinance aims at protecting the safety of children in the village and says that convicted sex offenders may re-offend in locations close to their homes and close to where children are.
Village Administrator Daniel Guild wrote the ordinance, similar to the one he wrote at his previous municipal job.
Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks says the ordinance gives police another enforcement tool.
"If we get a complaint about somebody loitering, we're gonna check the database and see if they are a registered sex offender," Chief Sparks said.
Some sex offenders, those who are actively on supervision through probation or parole, already have strict restrictions on where they can live.
Those who have served their time on supervision, but are still required to register as sex offenders, are free to live where they please unless they commit another crime.
Everyone who is currently a registered sex offender and living in Weston will be grandfathered in, so only those moving into the community will be affected. Those currently living in Weston but want to move within the village will have to adhere to the new rules.
There are some exemptions to the ordinance if, for example a sex offender has official business at one of the designated areas. As long as they're with a non-offending adult, they can go on with their business.
Offenders can also appeal to the village board to stay in their home if it is within 250 feet of a designated area since sex offenders have a variety of circumstances.
"It does cover a wide range of people and it could be someone who had a 16 year old girlfriend and he was 18 that would meet that definition. It might be 20 years removed and now he's married to her and has kids," Chief Sparks said.
The ordinance was put into place after an incident this summer when two teenager girls were sexually assaulted after meeting a man at the Weston Aquatic Center.
Sparks says sexual assault is a growing concern in the community.
"We usually average about two sexual assaults per month in the department. "In the last two years we've been averaging five per month," he said.