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Group pickets restaurant over placement of sex offender

Parolee's home is owned by proprietor of Racine eatery; owner of Somers restaurant is protesting
11-25-2007 Wisconsin:

RACINE — Darcy Powell lives in a gray, nondescript house surrounded by a well-kept yard on a dead-end street.

There is no name on his mailbox. There is no car in the driveway. There is no sunlight that enters his house since the white shades are kept closed and down.

The dwelling he lives in is among four other houses on a roadway on the northwest edge of Kenosha County in the Town of Somers. On the other side of the two-lane road, there is a small basketball hoop in a driveway, a trampoline in a backyard and an assortment of children’s playthings.

Powell, who was convicted of two counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child and two counts of incest with a child in 1996, preyed on children for years. He now lives in the clutches of the state’s Chapter 980, a program that binds convicted sex offenders to a tightly supervised life outside of prison.

“He is living in his own little prison,” his mentor, Terry Maack, the deacon of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Kenosha, said Sunday afternoon.

“I can’t talk ... I am not allowed to,” Powell said at his home Sunday.

Maack indicated that Powell, who was released in 2005, is monitored by two tracking bracelets and cannot leave his house without being accompanied by a mentor. He is also given random 3-hour lie detector tests; is not to purchase, possess or consume drugs or alcohol; and is to have no contact with minors, the victims or victims’ families.

“He has 49 regulations that he has to live by, day to day, and he has never missed one fraction. He is trying and he realizes what he did was terrible and horrible,” said Maack, who described Powell as a model parolee. “The man’s penance is going to be for the rest of his life ... losing his family, knowing what he did and being shunned by society.”

Those protections, and his regret for his past, do not sway neighbors who say the 55-year-old’s proximity to children is a major source of concern. Adding to the already stirred emotions was the lack of notice from the state to residents of the area he moved to in September.
The issue boiled over Sunday morning when 20 protesters picketed outside Golden Keys restaurant, 5930 Washington Ave., Racine, owned by Gus and Ann Vassos. The Vassoses also own the house where Powell resides.
“No one informed us, we found out through an anonymous letter,” said a protester who initially refused to give her name but later identified herself as Anne Glowacki. “His placement is not the proper placement ... he shouldn’t be in that neighborhood because there are children there.”

Glowacki said that the state failed to inform neighbors when Powell moved to her neighborhood. She said that she does not dispute that sex offenders need to be placed and rehabilitated, but said that it should not be near children.

“I am sure there are areas in the county that would best serve those needs,” Glowacki said. “He needs to be moved to another location with no children.”

Bill Vassos, son of Ann and Gus Vassos, said that his father rents the house to the state and not to Powell directly.

“This business and that situation are two different things. It’s a shame they made it personal,” he said 2 hours after the protesters were dispersed by police officers.

Michael Aletto, owner of the HobNob Restaurant, 277 Sheridan Road, Somers, informed The Journal Times of the protest Wednesday. He is married to Anne Glowacki, the same woman interviewed at the protest. The couple lives in a mansion that sits on a private driveway that meets the end of Powell’s dead-end street.

Anne Glowacki said that the neighbors, the owner of the house and state officials are planning to discuss the issue sometime this week.

“There is a going to be a meeting ... there is no time set yet,” she said during a phone interview Sunday afternoon, after the protest. ..more.. by BRENDAN O’BRIEN, Journal Times

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