Ordinance passed in Racine to limit where sex offenders can live

RACINE (WITI) -- There will now be more restrictions put on violent and child sex offenders in Racine. An ordinance was passed on Monday night, April 15th by the Racine Common Council that restricts where sex offenders can live in the city.

The ordinance bans violent or child sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, libraries and places of worship.

"We have won and we are going to protect the citizens of Racine from those monsters. It does give you a little more closure and I hope it gives every other survivor of a violent crime a little more closure," a victim told FOX6 News.

That victim was allegedly sexually assaulted by 45-year-old Michael Fink. Fink was initially placed blocks away from this victim following his release earlier this year. Fink was later moved -- but this victim says this ordinance will help give other victims more of a sense of security and protection.

"What happens is if you don't have a legal place to stay they will tend not to report actually where they are staying," Attorney Robert Peterson said.

Peterson represents Fink and says the ordinance makes it difficult for sex offenders like Fink to reintegrate back into society, given the buffer zones set by the city that prohibit them from living in certain areas.

"What it does is it forces them into small pockets within the city -- sex offender ghettos where they will have much less opportunities," Peterson said.

Peterson says the city is making assumptions that there are plenty of landlords willing to rent to offenders -- though he says landlords make it virtually impossible for sex offenders to live in the city.

Meanwhile, victims say this ordinance keeps offenders away from people and places where they could re-offend.

"Survivors of their crimes serve a life sentence," the victim told FOX6 News.

The ordinance wouldn't apply to sex offenders already designated in certain areas of the city. They essentially would be grandfathered in.

The new ordinance takes effect on April 24th.

MAP: Racine Sex Offender Zones