Neighbors upset about placement of two violent sex offenders in same home on south side
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- People living in The Garden District neighborhood on the south side of Milwaukee are upset that two violent sex offenders have been placed in the same house in their neighborhood.
They shared their concerns at a sex offender notification meeting Monday night at the Bay View Library.
"We’re just going to make as much noise as possible because this absolutely cannot happen," said Kelly Kopecky, who lives in the neighborhood.
Two violent sex offenders, who are on supervised release, have been placed in the home at 413 West Waterford Avenue.
James Segerson moved in last month. His record includes charges of Indecent Behavior with a Child and two convictions of First Degree Sexual Assault. All of his victims were children, according to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office.
Kenneth Parrish, who was convicted of First Degree assault in 1985, was placed in the home last week. According to the district attorney's office, when he was 18, he dragged a 15-year-old stranger into an alley, slammed her head into concrete and sexually assaulted her. When she tried to leave, he beat and slashed her with a knife.
"This is the end of a very long process that ultimately returns somebody to the community that you don't want returned to your community. There's no way of sugar coating that, so I'm not going to sugar coat it," said Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.
"What I can tell you, and what I'm here to tell you at the end of that long process results, ultimately in determination by a judge, that this person is appropriate to be released back into the community."
Chisholm said in 2000, the district attorney's office initiated a Chapter 980 proceeding so that Parrish could be civilly committed as long as doctors said he was a sexually violent person.
"We got an additional almost 20 years of keeping Parrish off the streets of Milwaukee," said Chisholm.
Once released, Parrish was initially at a home in Sauk County, but his attorney fought to get him back to Milwaukee County and a court ordered the Department of Health Services to move him to Milwaukee County because it is his county of residence.
The home on Waterford was picked based on a decision by a committee that is put together to look for housing for Chapter 980 sex offenders returning to their community, according to a representative from the Department of Health Services who spoke at the meeting.
"I can see in their house, they can see in my house, it’s sixteen feet, the distance," said Kopecky.
While representatives at the meeting said the home fit the criteria for where the sex offenders can live, neighbors believe the home is too isolated where it sits on a dead end road. People also shared concerns about the number of children in the neighborhood who play on a green space and community garden near the home.
"They have a constitutional right to be released after they’ve served their time no question about that, however I think the neighbors have the right to feel safe," said State Representative Christine Sinicki who was at the meeting Monday night.
"To hopefully make the decision makers understand that this is a really poor choice."
Sinicki said she is working on a bill that will require sex offender notifications be mailed to homes, that meetings be held before a sex offender is placed in a neighborhood and that elected officials in the area also receive notice that sex offenders are moving to the neighborhoods they represent.