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Mayor proposes child safety zones

Hudson Mayor Dean Knudson has entered the debate over restricting where sexual offenders can live in the city.

At the April 1 City Council meeting, Knudson offered a proposed ordinance that would prohibit people convicted of sexual crimes against children from loitering within 100 feet of places where children are often present.

The ordinance also would prohibit child molesters from residing within 200 feet of such places - including schools, daycares and parks.

It further would prohibit any child molester who wasn't living in the city at the time of his or her latest offense from residing anywhere in the city.

Persons found guilty of violating the ordinance would be fined $250 plus court costs for the first offense and $500 plus costs for the second and each subsequent violation.

Each day a violation continued would be considered a separate offense.

In a brief memo to City Council members, Knudson said the proposed ordinance is tailored narrowly enough to withstand a court challenge, but would still serve the purpose of keeping child molesters away from places where children congregate.

Council President Randy Morrissette II has proposed a broader ordinance that would bar sexual offenders from residing in most neighborhoods in the city.

Knudson's proposal, which establishes child safety zones, is closer to the approach suggested by Public Safety Committee Chairman Lee Wyland.

The Public Safety Committee discussed the mayor's proposal at its April 2 meeting.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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