A repeat child sex offender found living next to a school. WISN 12 news has learned both city and state officials knew it, but for months, no one told him to move.
Unbeknownst to its students, back to school at Milwaukee’s Spanish Immersion School brought an unexpected danger — a repeat child sex offender had quietly moved in just yards from their playground.
“We just heard about it last week when you guys ran the story,” parent Jared Scray said.
Scray is raising his 3-year-old daughter two houses down from 49-year-old Loren Whitlow, a convicted child molester who was recently released after decades in prison.
“Should you have to learn about it from the news?
“No, no, obviously not,” Scray said.
In August, Waukesha officials feared Whitlow would land there and were so concerned. They warned the public there’s a “high probability” he will strike again.
“That’s the scary part this thing. He doesn’t have discretion on choosing his victims,” Waukesha County sheriff’s Lt. Patrick Esser said in August.
Whitlow sexually assaulted five victims dating back to 1985 — one adult and four children. The youngest was just 4 years old.
“They have nothing to worry about,” Whitlow told WISN 12 News last month.
Whitlow never moved to Waukesha. WISN 12 News found him living near the Spanish Immersion School. He’s been there since August and WISN 12 News has learned both the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and the Milwaukee Police Department knew it.
“I’m just living my life. I’m not doing anything wrong,” Whitlow said.
Whitlow is on the sex offender registry for life. He is required to obey local residency rules. He is violating Milwaukee’s sex offender residency ordinance by living fewer than 2,000 feet from a place kids congregate.
Yet, no one ordered him to move until an alert neighbor called WISN 12 News and her alderman.
“I actually don’t know who actually is at fault here, who dropped the ball. There seems to be a lot of finger-pointing. There seems to be a lot of covering backsides. The bottom line is the neighbors rallied,” Milwaukee Alderman Mark Borkowski said.
WISN 12 News asked state and city officials to explain.
The Department of Corrections said it notified Milwaukee police Whitlow had moved there in an Aug. 24 email: “This has been verified with GPS. I do not believe this residence is in compliance with the Milwaukee Sex Offender Residence Ordinance but will leave it to your team to determine.”
Though it monitors Whitlow by GPS, the state said since he’s done his time, it’s Milwaukee’s job to make sure he obeys residency rules to keep him from living within 2,000 feet of places kids congregate.
“It’s important these things don’t fall through the cracks,” Scray said.
Scray said Milwaukee families deserve better.
“If the leaf pickup is a day or two late, we can live with those things. That’s not one of the things to leave unattended,” he said.
Late Monday afternoon, Milwaukee police confirmed the Department of Correction had notified them about Whitlow on Aug. 24, but only visited the address after getting a call from the alderman.
Whitlow now has until Nov. 26 to move. If he doesn’t, the best police can do is give him a ticket for violating the residency ordinance.
Milwaukee police said they monitors residences of nearly 2,000 sex offenders in the city. Whitlow was to be part of a monthly check.
The state Department of Corrections said it tracks 800 sex offenders by GPS statewide, that they share information with local police, although Milwaukee police say they do not get real-time GPS data.
Milwaukee police said they will have a new interactive sex offender database for the public up and running in 2016.