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Sex offender says neighbors' actions constitute harassment

8-1-2007 Wisconsin:

Note: The actions of the man's neighbors, in the article below, are a violation of the PUBLIC WARNING on the state registry, which says: "It is illegal to use information obtained through the Registry to commit a crime against any registrant or to engage in any illegal discrimination or harassment." Wisconsin statute 940-32 et. seq. makes the neighbors' actions a crime. eAdvocate

One neighbor's call to action has another neighbor charging that he's being harassed.

Convicted sex offender Michael A. Allen, 327 N. Macy St., said he silently stood by for the year he has lived on Macy Street as his next-door neighbors harassed him and made references to the fact that he's a convicted sex offender, including instances when they called him a rapist and a pedophile.

Court records show that Allen was convicted in 1998 of second-degree sexual assault of a child for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl. The records show that Allen was 16 years of age at the time of the incident, which occurred in 1997 in Shawano County.

In a victim statement included with court documents, the 15-year-old girl said it was her idea to perform the sexual act. She also wrote that she didn't think it was Allen's fault or that he should get in trouble.

On July 10, Allen said his neighbors took the harassment to a level at which he couldn't quietly stand by anymore. That day, Allen said he learned that copies of his sex offender information had been posted around Fond du Lac.


Right away, Allen said that he knew his neighbors, Linda C. Schultz and Michael J. Merkel, who live at 323 N. Macy St., were responsible for the postings.

Not knowing what his rights were, Allen said he called the sex offender registry and asked some questions.

Allen said he was told by sex offender registry officials that an offender's record on the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry Web site is public information, but only public officials are allowed to post signs and make community notifications about sex offenders.

Allen said he was also told that in order to remove the signs from the businesses where they were posted, he'd have to go into the business and ask for permission to take the sign down — an added embarrassment since he'd have to explain to business owners his situation and that he was a sex offender.

After peeling down the signs, Allen headed to the Fond du Lac Police Department to file a complaint.

The next day, police questioned Schultz about the postings and she admitted to putting up the signs.

Fond du Lac police wrote out harassment citations for Schultz and Merkel, indicating in the police report that their "conduct served no useful purpose." The report also said Allen was following the rules of the sex offender registration system and not breaking any laws.

"It appears to be the intent of the suspects to force Michael Allen to move from the area," the police report said.

Letting the community know

Schultz said she was disgusted and upset when she learned her neighbor was a sex offender. She posted the signs to let the community know about Allen, she said.

"I figured people had a right to know," Schultz said. "My grandchildren live upstairs, and we have a lot of kids in the neighborhood.

"It's freedom of speech. It's all public knowledge."

Schultz said she posted the signs once and will do it again it if it means protecting others.

Even though she didn't originally know the details of Allen's sex offender charges, she said that even as a 16-year-old, he should have known better and not had sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl.

She stated that she asked the Fond du Lac Police Department if she could post the signs and was given permission to do so.

Schultz calls the harassment charges "bogus."

Anger boils over

On July 10, Allen returned from the Fond du Lac Police Department, sat down at his kitchen table with his fianceƩ, Loni Huck, and was checking his mail when the two heard a "lot of laughing and hammering" coming from outside, Huck said.

When they looked out the window, they saw their neighbors pounding a wooden post that had a sheet of paper containing Allen's sex offender registry information on it into a tree stump in their yard. ..more.. by Amie Jo Schaenzer

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