Jeffrey Levasseur, no longer supervised by Department of Health Services

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ANTIGO, Wis. (WSAW) -- Jeffrey Levasseur, was discharged from the Department of Health Services' supervised release.

In a press release Thursday, Antigo Police Department clarified its previous press release from Monday that stated "...Levasseur will be a resident of the community..." Thursday's release clarifies that Levasseur will no longer be supervised.

For about two and half years, DHS assessed thousands of homes and attempted to place Levasseur in several homes throughout Wisconsin as part of its supervised release program for sexually violent individuals, which falls under Wisconsin statute chapter 980.

In email correspondence in 2018 with DHS communications specialist, Elizabeth Goodsitt, discussing chapter 980 and Levasseur's placement, Goodsitt told 7 Investigates the chapter and the supervised release are safeguards to the community.

"The transparency of the placement process for this small percentage of persons creates an opportunity to remind the public that thousands of convicted sex offenders live throughout the state, in every county, and most of them have no supervision at all," she said "When someone is discharged, we no longer have supervisory authority or responsibility."

Those under supervised release have a plan that a judge must approve which Goodsitt said "typically include GPS monitoring, as well as scheduled and unscheduled home visits, polygraph tests, escorts for pre-approved activities outside of the residence, as well as comprehensive and specific rules and regulations."

They also continue treatment programs, but for the first year, they are often on house arrest and gain privileges if they can show the willingness to follow supervised release rules, which is monitored by a treatment provider, DHS special agent, and the Department of Corrections.

She stated the sexual recidivism rate for those in the program is about 2% and none have involved stranger attacks. Once someone is discharged from the program, she said "the overall known rate of sexual
recidivism... is about 10%."

Goodsitt told 7 Investigates in 2018 a judge determined that Levasseur has a mental disorder that predisposes him to engage in acts of sexual violence. Because of that, he spent time at the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston. In an email to 7 investigate in April of this year, Goodsitt said the treatment center "has an average census of 330 adult men who are referred for possible commitment after they have completed their sentence within the Department of Corrections."

For a judge to put a sexually violent person, like Levasseur, on supervised release in the first place, that person had to demonstrate "significant progress in treatment," meaning they actively participated in treatment, showed they understood, and that their thoughts and behaviors have changed. Levasseur showed that, allowing a judge to grant that privilege to be on supervised release as long as DHS could find placement for him.

A person can petition to be discharged entirely. Between Jan. 1, 1995 through Feb. 4, 2018, 52 sexually violent persons were discharged from supervised release and 106 were discharged directly from the treatment center.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story NewsChannel 7 continued reporting that Levasseur was considered a sexually violent person. Upon obtaining court records, he has been discharged from that commitment.