Milwaukee Common Council votes to lift restrictions on sex offenders

NOW: Milwaukee Common Council votes to lift restrictions on sex offenders

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Registered sex offenders living in the City of Milwaukee may soon be allowed to live closer to schools, playgrounds, and churches.

The Common Council voted Wednesday to lift most restrictions for people convicted of sex crimes.

The lawyer for that group says she is floored and thrilled by the results of the vote. Still, some lawmakers and neighbors say this could be a terrible mistake.

Don Mulder has lived in a small room on Milwaukee’s north side since 2013.

He spent eight years in prison for sexually abusing his 16-year-old stepdaughter. He is now a registered sex offender.

He says he likes where he lives, but would prefer to live with his wife in Glendale.

“My wife and I have looked for, applied for over 1,800 properties,” says Mulder.

His current home is just steps away from a school and he’s allowed to live there because he moved in prior to the current ordinance which bars sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of places where children may congregate. Frustrated by being separated from his wife, he sued the city. He says he feels vindicated by Wednesday’s Common Council vote.

Those in favor of lifting the restrictions say the ordinance creates more homeless sex offenders.

Alderman Tony Zielinski was one of two aldermen who voted against the measure.

“If it’s a choice between the two, show me someone who says I’d rather have them living next door,” says Zielinski.

Mulder says he was inspired by a group of sex offenders who recently won a similar case.

“You shouldn’t be painting broad strokes and saying if you have this crime or that offense you are totally ousted from society,” says Mulder.

Changes to the ordinance aren’t official until the mayor signs off which he is expected to do. Right now there are four other similar lawsuits happening in the Milwaukee area.

Sex offenders are suing in Yorkville, Franklin, Kenosha County, and Waukesha County.

Alderman Zielinski say she believe this should be a state issue, with uniform statewide ordinances.

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