[Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Pittsfield 5-13-1997 as § 10.019 of the 1997 Code; amended in its entirety 11-9-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-2. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Repeat sexual offenders, sexual offenders who use physical violence, and sexual offenders who prey on children are sexual predators who present an extreme threat to the public safety. Sexual offenders are extremely likely to use physical violence and to repeat their offenses, and most sexual offenders commit many offenses, have many more victims that are never reported, and are prosecuted for only a fraction of their crimes. This makes the cost of sexual offender victimization to society at large, while incalculable, clearly exorbitant.
It is the intent of this chapter not to impose a criminal penalty but rather to serve the Town's compelling interest to promote, protect, and improve the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the Town by creating areas around locations where children regularly congregate in concentrated numbers wherein certain sexual offenders and sexual predators are prohibited from establishing temporary or permanent residence. Due to the high rate of recidivism, and the unpredictability and severity of these crimes, it is the intent of this chapter to limit the availability of situations where the potential for such crimes is increased in the interest of protecting the children of our community.
The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except when the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- A person under the age of 18 as defined in §§ 48.02(2) and 990.01(20), Wis. Stats., for purposes of this chapter.
- LOITER or LOITERING
- Whether in a crowd, group or as an individual, to stand idly about, loaf, prowl, congregate, wander, linger aimlessly, proceed slowly or with many stops, to delay or dawdle, for the purpose or in a manner likely to interact or attempting to interact with children (excepting children of the offender), or engaging in activities that would interest children (excepting the children of the offender) or acting in a manner that otherwise has no legitimate purpose.
- A person under the age of 17 as defined in § 990.01(20), Wis. Stats.
- RESIDENCE (RESIDE)
- A place at which a home or place of abode is maintained for a period of over four days (consecutive or nonconsecutive) in any month. Where a voluntary concurrence of a physical presence and an intent to remain in a fixed place of habitation are present, the place will be presumed to be a residence. A residence may be more than one location and may be mobile or transitory.
- SEX OFFENDER
- A person who has been convicted of, or has been found delinquent of, has been found not guilty by reason of disease or mental defect of a sexually violent offense and/or a crime against children, or has been required by any court to register under § 301.45, Wis. Stats., for any offense against a child.
- SEXUALLY VIOLENT OFFENSE
- Has the meaning as set forth in § 980.01(6), Wis. Stats., as may be amended.
Prohibited location of residence. It is unlawful for a sex offender to establish a residence that is not less than 1,500 feet from any school premises, child care facility, public park, place of worship, or youth center.
Prohibited activity. It is unlawful for a sex offender to participate in a holiday event involving children under 18 years of age, such as distributing candy or other items to children on Halloween, wearing a Santa Claus costume on or preceding Christmas or wearing an Easter Bunny costume on or preceding Easter. Holiday events in which the offender is the parent or guardian of the children involved, and no nonfamilial children are present, are exempt from this subsection. "Participation" is to be defined as actively taking part in the event.
Measurement of distance.
For purposes of determining the minimum distance separation, the requirement shall be measured by following a straight line from the outer property line of the permanent residence or temporary residence to nearest outer property line of any school premises, child care facility, public park, place of worship, or youth center where children are known to congregate.
The Town Clerk shall maintain an official map showing prohibited locations as defined by this chapter. The Clerk shall update the map at least annually to reflect any changes in the location of prohibited zones. These shall be designated on the map as child safety zones.
Exceptions. A designated offender residing within a prohibited area as described in Subsection A does not commit a violation of this section if any of the following apply:
The person established the residence and reported and registered pursuant to § 301.45, Wis. Stats., before the effective date of this chapter.
The person is a minor or ward under guardianship and is not required to register under § 301.45 or 301.46, Wis. Stats.
The school premises, child care facility, public park, place of worship, or youth center as a place where children are known to congregate within 1,500 feet of the person's residence was opened after the person established the permanent residence or temporary residence and reported and registered the residence pursuant to § 301.45, Wis. Stats.
Original domicile restriction. In addition to and notwithstanding the residency restrictions set forth herein, and subject to § 221-3 above, no sex offender shall be permitted to reside in the Town of Pittsfield unless such person was domiciled in the Town of Pittsfield at the time of the offense resulting in the person's most recent conviction, commitment or placement as a sex offender as set forth in § 221-3 above.
It is unlawful to let or rent any place, structure, or part thereof, trailer or other conveyance, with the knowledge that it will be used as a residence by any person prohibited from establishing such permanent residence or temporary residence pursuant to this chapter, if such place, structure, or part thereof, trailer or other conveyance, is located within a prohibited location zone described in § 221-3A.
No sex offender shall loiter in or within 50 feet of any of the following places:
A public park, parkway, parkland, or park facility;
A public swimming pool;
A public library;
A recreational trail;
A public playground;
A school for children;
Athletic fields used by children;
A movie theater;
A day-care center;
Any specialized school for children, including but not limited to a gymnastics academy, dance academy, or music school;
A public or private golf course or range;
Aquatic facilities open to the public; and
Any facility 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 foster home, as defined in § 48.02(6), Wis. Stats., a day-care center licensed under § 48.65, Wis. Stats., a day-care program established under § 120.13(14), Wis. Stats., a day-care provider certified under § 48.651, Wis. Stats., or a youth center, as defined in § 961.01(22), Wis. Stats.].
The Town shall maintain an official map showing child safety zones, updating that list as needed. The child safety zone maps will be available at the Town Clerk's office. The maps shall be for informational purposes only. The absence of a location on the map shall not be a defense to prosecution where the alleged violator is within 50 feet of a place listed above and circumstances make it clear that the violator had actual notice of that proximity.
A person does not commit a violation of this section and the enumerated uses may allow such person on the property supporting such use if any of the following apply:
The property supporting an enumerated use under Subsection A also supports a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other house of religious worship (collectively "place of worship") subject to the following conditions:
Entrance and presence is limited to that portion of the premises that is a place of worship and either:
The property supporting an enumerated use under Subsection A also supports a use lawfully attended by a person's natural or adopted child(ren), which child's use reasonably requires the attendance of the person as the child's parent upon the property, subject to the following conditions:
Entrance and presence upon the property occurs only during hours of activity related to the use as posted to the public; and
Notice is made from the person to an individual in charge of the use upon the property and approval from an individual in charge of the use upon the property as designated by the owner of the use upon the property is made in return of the attendance by the person.
The property supporting an enumerated use under Subsection A also supports a polling location in a local, state or federal election, subject to the following conditions:
The person is eligible to vote;
The designated polling place for the person is an enumerated use; and
The person enters the polling place property, proceeds to cast a ballot with whatever usual and customary assistance is provided to any member of the electorate, and the person vacates the property immediately after voting.
The property supporting an enumerated use under Subsection A also supports an elementary or secondary school lawfully attended by a person as a student under which circumstances the person who is a student may enter upon that property supporting the school at which the person is enrolled as is reasonably required for the educational purposes of the school.
The property also supports a court, government office or room for public governmental meetings, subject to all of the following conditions:
Sex Offender Residence Board. The above requirements may be waived upon approval of the Sex Offender Residence Board through appeal by the affected party. Such appeal shall be made to the Town Clerk's office, who shall forward the request to the Sex Offender Residence Board, which shall request reports from the County Sheriff's Department on such appeal. The Board shall convene and consider the public interest as well as the affected party's presentation and concerns.
In making its determination under this provision, the Sex Offender Residence Board may consider any or all of the following factors that may be applicable in the particular appeal:
Credibility of applicant.
Proximity of proposed residence to child congregation area.
Support network of applicant.
Support network and relationship of those at the proposed residence.
Counseling and treatment.
After deliberation, the Board shall forward its decision, in writing, to the Town of Pittsfield Town Board for its information and action. A written copy of the decision shall be provided to the affected party.
Membership. The Planning Commission (minus any acting member of the Town Board) shall serve as the Sex Offender Residence Board.
Penalty. Any person who violates or knowingly allows or permits any violation of any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a forfeiture of not less than $75 and not more than $1,000 per violation. Failure or refusal to pay the forfeiture may result in imprisonment for a period of not more than 90 days for each offense. A separate offense and violation shall be deemed committed on each day on which a violation occurs or continues.
If a person violates any provision of this chapter by establishing a residence or occupying residential premises within 1,500 feet of those premises as described therein, without any exception(s) as also set forth above, each twenty-four-hour period of residence shall be considered a separate period of violation, and the Town Attorney may bring an action in the name of the Town to permanently enjoin such residency as a public nuisance. If a person violates any provision of this chapter, in addition to the aforesaid injunctive relief, such person shall be subject to the general penalty provisions in Subsection A. In addition, the Town of Pittsfield may undertake all other legal and equitable remedies to prevent or remove a violation of this chapter.
Enforcement. Enforcement of this chapter shall be the responsibility of the Board or its designee and/or County Sheriff's Department.