About 40 residents who live in the 16th and Memorial neighborhood attended a sex offender notification meeting Wednesday at the 16th Street COP house.
The meeting was hosted by the Racine Police Department, and the Department of Corrections, the Department of Human Services to help neighbors understand what it means that Michael Fink will be moving in to 1605 S. Memorial Drive. Neighors were told they wouldn't be allowed to speak during the presentation portion of the evening, but they could turn in cards with questions that officials would try and answer during a short Q&A session.
Fink is being remanded into the custody of the Department of Human Services on supervised release after serving time in prison and at the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Facility in Mauston, WI, after his 1994 conviction for sexually assaulting two, 12-year-old girls.
Despite him not being allowed to leave his home for the first year of his release without a chaperone - not to mow his grass, shovel his snow or even to retrieve his mail - and remaining on GPS monitoring for the rest of his life, neighbors told Patch they are afraid for the safety of the children who live, play and go to school in the neighborhood.
Rose Cavala lives in the home behind Fink's house, and she said she is afraid of letting her grandkids play in the backyard, even saying they're asking quesitons about their safety.
"I saw a flier at Twins, and ever since then, the kids ask if they'll be safe," she said at the meeting. "I worry about not letting them play outside and summer is coming. They're always at my house."
Yvonne Kloyce is the Neighborhood Watch captain and she was upset that instead of being informed by the police department, she found out by watching the news.
"The police are all over talking to us about a drug bust, but not about this," she said. "Get real."
Alderman Michael Shields attended the meeting before going to a Common Council meeting. He wasn't allowed to speak out of fairness to everyone else who had to wait, but he did present a petition signed by residents in protest over Fink's placement.
Cavala's name is on the petition, but she didn't fill out a card with a question because there was no point.
"There's nothing they can that will make me feel bettter," she shrugged.
Jason Cram from DHS sympathized, but said the judge in the case followed the law as its written in ordering Fink's release.
"If I lived anywhere near here I'd be angry and upset, too," he said. "But the way the law is written, Mr. Fink fulfilled the requirements for release, both by serving his prison sentence and completing the treatment program at Sand Ridge."
This is the second attempt at locating Fink in Racine County. The first try was abandoned after DHS was notified that one of Fink's victims would only live a few doors away. Racine County Circuit Court Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz rescinded the order and told DHS to get busy fast finding a new residence.
Once he was notified that the Memorial Drive house had been secured and met all the criteria, the judge cleared the way for Fink to move by March 7, allowing the Racine Police Department to hold a public notification meeting first.
Cram told neighbors that since the meeting was being held, Fink could move in as early as Thursday or Friday still of this week.