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2219, 02 Apr 15


The Trouble with Placing Sex Offenders

Judy Steffes has some news about the sex offender in West Bend who was placed near the High Schools. From the Washington County Insider:

Informational session Monday as West Bend discusses registered sex offenders: A registered sex offender was recently placed within walking distance of the West Bend High Schools and on Monday during the common council meeting Chief Ken Meuler and several others will talk about the city’s placement plan and whether any changes should be implemented.

More details on this story will be in Saturday’s Around the Bend by Judy Steffes. In an exclusive interview Tuesday with Chief Ken Meuler he said there is currently no ordinance in place regarding where registered sex offenders live in West Bend…. but Meuler said “we have a system that works right now.”

Meuler said the registered sex offenders in West Bend have strict rules, can only leave the house for a limited amount of time and they are monitored closely by GPS, the Department of Corrections and WBPD.

Meuler said if the city had not placed Rathke, then he would be homeless and how would he have been monitored then? “At least we know where he is now,” Meuler said.

Watch for more details on this story in Saturday’s Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

UPDATE: Here’s more from the Washington County Insider this morning:

Chief Meuler says no changes needed in placement of registered sex offenders: West Bend Police Chief Ken Meuler stands firmly behind the city’s current plan on placement of registered sex offenders even though one lives just a few blocks from a school. In an exclusive interview this week with Judy Steffes, the chief talked about sex offender Justin Rathke, 29, and the fact the city has no ordinance on placement of registered sex offenders.

“We have a system that works right now,” Meuler said. “He (Rathke) may be by the school but he also hasn’t offended; we know where he lives, he has very strict rules, he’s got a GPS, he can only leave his house for a very limited time, we regularly visit and the Department of Corrections checks on him.”

Rathke was released from prison in February. He moved into an apartment on River Road, a couple of blocks from the West Bend High Schools.

Meuler said sex offenders have been released into the community for years and if the city hadn’t placed him, Rathke would have been homeless. “Then how would we track him,” he said. “The point that he could go anywhere is even more of a problem but we now know where he is.”

District 4 alderman Randy Koehler requested an information session on sex offender placement. That session will be held Monday, April 6 during the common council meeting. “People can find out why the sex offenders are placed where they are and we can give all the details; if we need to take further action we can,” he said.

Rathke served time in prison after being convicted on two counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child. As part of his parole he cannot have any unsupervised contact with minors nor can he visit parks, playgrounds or schools. Monday’s council meeting gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Other officials in attendance will be Washington County District Attorney Mark Bensen and a representative from the Department of Corrections.


2219, 02 April 2015



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