Registered sex offenders must follow rules on Halloween

By: Britni McDonald Email
By: Britni McDonald Email

POSTED Tuesday, October 29, 2013-- 6:30 p.m.

On a night devoted to fictional ghouls, goblins, and ghosts, there are some real dangers that your children could be approaching.

Behind closed doors there more than 22,000 sex offenders in the state, 850 in Dane County, most of them convicted of crimes against children

One of the most horrifying murders in Wisconsin happened on Halloween when, in 1973, 9-year-old Lisa French was sexually assaulted and murdered while out trick or treating.

"It was very common for kids to be out by themselves trick or treating," said Department of Corrections director of sex offenders programs, Grace Roberts. "Sex offenders are everywhere, and they've been around forever, but it's just now we can put restrictions on them."

It's been just over the past seven years that the Department of Corrections has restricted registered sex offenders with active supervisions from taking part in Halloween. That includes about 5,400 in the state and nearly 300 in Dane County.

"They cannot be outside of the home. They cannot put out bowls of candy. They can't turn their porch lights on. They can't wear costumes," said Roberts.

Officers have been making visits to registered sex offenders this month with this contract, clearly stating the rules they must follow. This is followed up with compliance checks on Halloween night.

"If we find they are participating in restricted activities we take them into custody," said Roberts.

Since the restrictions were put into place, there have been rule violations in Wisconsin but no re-offenses.

But along with knowing to avoid dark homes on Hallow en, with the simple click of a button you can find exactly where sex offenders are in your neighborhood.

"It became very obvious that people wanted to know exactly where they lived," said Roberts. "Now we can tell people that they're there,"

"I looked into it before we bought out house," said Oregon parent, Rachel Goins. "I wanted to live in a safe neighborhood."

Addresses were just added to the sex offender registry in 2005.

"They can search that person by name. They can search by location they just type zip code," said Roberts. "There's no neighborhood that's excited to have sex offenders."

***SAFE TIP LINE: 1-877-234-0085
Sex Offender Registry:

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