[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Belgium 3-12-2018 by Ord. No. 3-18. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 227, Sex Offender Residency Restrictions and Child Safety Zones, adopted 2-4-2011 by Ord. No. 7-11.
The Wisconsin legislature has provided for the punishment, treatment and supervision of persons convicted or otherwise responsible for sex crimes against children, including their release into the community. Chapter 980 of the Wisconsin Statutes provides for the civil commitment of sexually violent persons. The purpose of that chapter is to protect the public and to reduce the likelihood that convicted sex offenders will engage in such conduct in the future. The United States Supreme Court has recognized that the risk of recidivism posed by sex offenders is high, and when convicted sex offenders re-enter society, they are much more likely than any other type of offender to be rearrested for a new rape or sexual assault.
The Village Board is aware of research on sex offenders, including the findings of a number of states, including but not limited to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Iowa and California, as they pertain to laws adopted and which relate to imposing restrictions on sex offenders with respect to residency.
The Village Board finds the negative consequences of failing to regulate the movement of sex offenders is a hazard to children and the community. Thus, the Village has a duty and need to regulate where sex offenders reside and loiter within the Village once they are reintegrated into the community.
This chapter is a regulatory measure aimed at protecting the health and safety of children in the Village of Belgium from the risk that convicted sex offenders may re-offend in locations close to their residences. It is the intent of this chapter not to impose a criminal penalty but rather to serve the Village's compelling interest to promote, protect and improve the health, safety and welfare of Village citizens by creating safety zones around locations where children regularly congregate in concentrated numbers wherein certain sexual offenders and sexual predators are prohibited from establishing residence; and by regulating certain activities that may be used by sexual offenders to prey on children.
The Village finds and declares that sex offenders are a serious threat to public safety. Given the high rate of recidivism for sex offenders and that reducing opportunity and temptation is important to minimizing the risk of re-offense, there is a need to protect children where they congregate or play in public places in addition to the protections afforded by state law near schools, day-care centers and other places children frequent. The Village Board notes that § 61.34, Wis. Stats., authorizes the Board to enact legislation for the health, safety and welfare of the public, and that § 61.34(5), Wis. Stats., provides that the powers, rights and privileges accorded to villages under that section are to be liberally construed in order to promote the general welfare, peace, good order and prosperity of the Village.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CHILD SAFETY LOCATION
- The site upon which any of the following are located:
- A. Public parks, park pathways, parkland, park facilities;
- B. Public swimming pools, aquatic facilities or water features open to the public;
- C. Public libraries;
- D. Recreational trails;
- E. Public playgrounds;
- F. Schools for children;
- G. Athletic fields used by children;
- H. Day-care facilities;
- I. Specialized schools for children, including, but not limited to a gymnastics academy, dance academy or music school;
- J. Museums;
- K. Facilities for children [which means a public or private school; a group home, as defined in § 48.02(7), Wis. Stats.; a residential care center for children and youth, as defined in § 48.02(15d), Wis. Stats.; a shelter care facility, as defined in § 48.02(17), Wis. Stats.; a day-care center licensed under § 48.65, Wis. Stats.; a day-care provider certified under § 48.651, Wis. Stats.; or a youth center, as defined in § 961.01(22), Wis. Stats.].
- CHILD SAFETY ZONE
- Any place within the Village that is located within 500 feet of any child safety location.
- CRIME AGAINST CHILDREN
- Has the meaning of any of the following offenses set forth within the Wisconsin Statutes, as amended, or the laws of this or any other state or the federal government, having like elements necessary for conviction, respectively:
- RECREATIONAL TRAIL
- All parts and segments of the Ozaukee Interurban Trail.
- A place where a person sleeps, abides, lodges or resides on a permanent or temporary basis. For purposes of this definition, a "permanent basis" means 14 or more consecutive days and a "temporary basis" means 14 or more aggregate days during any calendar year or four or more consecutive or nonconsecutive days in any month. A person may have more than one residence, and may be mobile or transitory.
- SEX OFFENDER
- A person who has been convicted of or has been found delinquent of or has been found not guilty by reason of disease or mental defect of a sexually violent offense and/or a crime against children.
- SEXUALLY VIOLENT OFFENSE
- Has the meaning specified in § 980.01(6), Wis. Stats., as amended.
Child safety zone restriction. Subject to the definitions in § 227-2 and the exceptions in Subsection C below, no sex offender shall establish or maintain a permanent or temporary residence within a child safety zone or any other place designated by the Village as a place where children are known to congregate.
Measurement of distance; map. For purposes of this chapter, distance shall be measured in a straight line from the closest boundary line of the real property upon which the permanent residence or temporary residence is located to the closest boundary line of a child safety location. The Village Clerk shall maintain an official map showing prohibited locations as defined in this chapter. The Clerk shall update the map at least annually to reflect any changes in prohibited locations and safety zones.
Residency restriction exceptions. A sex offender residing within a prohibited area as described in this chapter does not commit a violation of this chapter if any of the following apply:
The sex offender established the permanent residence or temporary residence and reported and registered the residence pursuant to § 301.45, Wis. Stats., before the initial effective date of this chapter (that being February 14, 2011).
The sex offender is a minor who is not required to register under §§ 301.45 or 301.46, Wis. Stats.
The child safety location use was established after the sex offender established a residence at the location.
The sex offender's residence is within a jail, juvenile facility, or other correctional facility at which the sex offender is serving a court-ordered sentence.
A sex offender present in an area otherwise prohibited by this chapter does not commit a violation if any of the following apply:
The property supporting the child safety location use also supports a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other place of religious worship, subject to the following conditions:
Entrance and presence on the property may occur only during hours of worship or other religious program or service; and
Written advance notice is made from the sex offender to a person in charge of the place of religious worship and approval from the person in charge of the place of religious worship as designated by the place of religious worship is made in return, of the attendance by the sex offender; and
The sex offender may not participate in any religious education programs that include individuals under the age of 18.
The property supporting the child safety location use also supports a use lawfully attended by the sex offender's natural or adopted child or children, which child's use reasonably requires the attendance of the sex offender, provided that the entrance and presence on the property occurs only during hours of activity related to the use by the child or children.
The property supporting the child safety location use also supports a polling location in a local, state or federal election, subject to the following conditions:
The property supporting the child safety location use also supports a school lawfully attended by the sex offender as a student, provided that the sex offender may only remain on the property at such times that are reasonably required for his or her educational purposes.
The property supporting the child safety location use also supports a governmental building, provided that the sex offender vacates the property immediately after completing the activity that required his or her presence at the property.
The sex offender was exercising his or her First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution or Wisconsin Constitution, including freedom of speech and the right of assembly.
It is unlawful for a sex offender to participate in any public holiday event in the Village involving children under 18 years of age where the distributing of candy or other items to children takes place, including but not limited to holiday parades and similar gatherings, Halloween trick or treating, wearing a Santa Claus costume in a public place on or during any of the six weeks preceding Christmas, wearing an Easter Bunny costume on or during any of the six weeks preceding Easter, or by engaging in any other similar types of activity that may, under the circumstances then present, tend to entice a child to have contact with the sex offender. Holiday events in which the sex offender is the parent or legal guardian of the child or children involved, and no other children are present, are exempt from this section.
It is unlawful for any sex offender to loiter or prowl in a child safety location in a place, at a time, or a manner not usual for law-abiding individuals under circumstances that warrant alarm for the safety of children in the vicinity. Among the circumstances which may be considered in determining whether such alarm is warranted is the fact that the actor takes flight upon appearance of a law enforcement officer, refuses to identify himself or herself or manifestly endeavors to conceal himself or herself or any object. Unless flight by an actor or other circumstances makes it impractical, a law enforcement officer shall, prior to any arrest for an offense under this section, afford the actor an opportunity to dispel any alarm which would otherwise be warranted by requesting him or her to identify himself or herself or explain his or her presence and conduct at the child safety location. No person shall be convicted of an offense under this section if the law enforcement officer did not comply with the preceding sentence, or if it appears at trial that the explanation given by the actor was true, and, if believed by law enforcement at the time, would have dispelled the alarm.
It is unlawful to let or rent any place, structure or part thereof, manufactured home, trailer or other conveyance, with the knowledge that it will be used as a permanent residence or temporary residence by any person prohibited from establishing such permanent residence or temporary residence pursuant to the terms of this chapter, if such place, structure or part thereof, manufactured home, trailer or other conveyance, is located within a child safety zone.
A sex offender may seek an exemption from this chapter by appealing to the Village Board. The appeal shall be made in writing by the sex offender to the Village Clerk, who shall forward the appeal to the Village Board. The Village elects not to be bound by Chapter 68, Wis. Stats., with respect to the administrative procedure in the appeal process.
The Village Board shall hold a hearing on an appeal to conduct an individual risk assessment, during which the Village Board may review any pertinent information and may accept oral and written statements from any person. The sex offender that filed the appeal shall appear at any hearing, unless otherwise approved by the Village Board. The Village Board shall consider the public interest as well as the appellant's presentation and concerns, giving the appellant a reasonable opportunity to be heard. The Village Board shall consider the specific facts and circumstances of each appellant and determine whether the appellant presents a threat to public safety if he or she resides at the proposed location. The Village Board shall consider factors which may include, but are not limited to: circumstances surrounding the offense; relationship of the appellant and victim; presence or use of force; presence of enticement; need to protect the victim or similarly situated individuals; current dangerousness of the appellant; proximity in time from the original offense; any criminal offenses, ordinance or rule violations committed since the original offense including failure to register or comply with restrictions set by a bond, parole or probation; time out of incarceration; current supervision status by the Department of Corrections; counseling and treatment history; credibility of the appellant; remorse; proximity of proposed residence to a child safety zone; support network of appellant near proposed residence; alternative housing options.
The Village Board shall decide by majority vote of the trustees in attendance at the hearing whether to grant or deny an exemption. An exemption may be unconditional or may be conditioned to a certain address or period of time, or such other conditions as the Village Board deems appropriate. The Village Board shall provide a written copy of its decision, containing the reasons for its decision, to the appellant either by personal delivery or first class mail. If an exemption is granted to an appellant and the appellant subsequently voluntarily moves out of the Village and later desires to resume residency in the Village, the appellant must file a new appeal with the Village requesting an exemption. The decision of the Village Board may be appealed to the Ozaukee County Circuit Court by any aggrieved party within 30 days of filing of the final written decision in the Village Clerk's office. The review shall be a review by certiorari and the Circuit Court may affirm or reverse the Village Board's decision, or remand to the Village Board for further proceedings consistent with the court's decision.
Forfeitures. Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, forfeit not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 together with the costs of prosecution for each such offense, and in default of payment of such forfeiture and costs of prosecution shall be imprisoned in the county jail until such forfeiture and costs are paid, but not exceeding 90 days. Each violation and each day a violation continues or occurs shall constitute a separate offense.
Injunction; violations of residence restrictions. If an offender establishes a permanent or temporary residence in violation of this chapter, the Village Board may refer the matter to the Village Attorney. The referral shall include a written determination by the Village Board that, upon all of the facts and circumstances and the purpose and intent of this chapter, such violation interferes substantially with the comfortable enjoyment of life, health, safety of another or others. Upon such referral, the Village Attorney shall bring an action in the name of the Village in circuit court to permanently enjoin such residency as a public nuisance.