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By LeAnn R. Ralph
Editor’s Note: LeAnn R.Ralph serves as a supervisor on the Otter Creek Town Board
MENOMONIE — A Dunn County judge has granted standing for the Town of Otter Creek to intervene regarding sex offender housing in the Town of Otter Creek selected by the county’s 980 Committee.
Judge Rod Smeltzer granted the township’s motion at a court hearing April 26 to intervene in the placement of Jamie Lane Stephenson in a house in Otter Creek.
Judge Smeltzer also said he would allow Stephenson to maintain his residency in the township while the case is making its way through the court system.
Stephenson, 34, has been placed on supervised release in a house located on 570th Street.
At issue is whether the house where Stephenson has been placed is fit for habitation, whether Dunn County’s 980 Committee gave adequate notice of the meetings to find a residence where Stephenson could be placed on supervised release and whether the location of the residence violates state law in regard to being too close to other nearby residences where minor children are living.
State law, under Chapter 980.08 — Supervised release; procedures, implementation, revocation —requires offenders identified under that chapter to be placed on supervised release in their “home county” and also requires the county to form a temporary 980 Committee to find appropriate housing.
According to state law, “The county shall create a temporary committee to prepare the report for the county. The committee shall consist of the county department under s.51.42, a representative of the department of health services, a local probation or parole officer, the county corporation counsel or his or her designee, and a representative of the county that is responsible for land use planning or the department of the county that is responsible for land information.”
During a court hearing January 31, Judge Smeltzer scheduled a hearing in April to consider the Town of Otter Creek’s motion to intervene.
The notice that Otter Creek submitted asking to intervene in the case was filed with the court December 27, 2018.
The Dunn County Sheriff’s Department held a public meeting at the Otter Creek Town Hall March 4 about two registered sex offenders committed under the state’s Chapter 980 law as “sexually violent” who have been placed on supervised release in the Otter Creek house.
About 20 people attended the three-hour meeting at the town hall.
Judge Smeltzer scheduled a two-hour hearing for August 6 at 1:30 p.m. concerning the Town of Otter Creek’s reasons for intervening in the supervised placement of a registered sex offender in the house on 570th Street.
The Town of Otter Creek must file the reasons for intervening with the court by June 14.
Charles Glynn, an attorney representing Stephenson, and Assistant State Attorney General Devra Ayala have until July 5 to respond to Otter Creek’s court filing. Otter Creek must respond to Glynn’s and Ayala’s responses by July 19.