MACHESNEY PARK (WIFR) -- Unlike Wisconsin, police in Illinois don't go door-to-door to let homeowners know when a sex offender is moving in. So instead, a Machesney park man feels he should do it for them.
Brock Hutzler was shocked to find out his new neighbor is a convicted sex offender. Hutzler went door to door handing out fliers to let neighbors know, and put tow big signs in his lawn with the offender’s name and crime.
“Well I think that everybody should be aware who their neighbors are, especially a sexual predator,” Hutzler said. “And again, when the law doesn’t require that person to announce his presence, then I think it’s our responsibility to go ahead and do that for them.”
The sexual predator Hutzler is talking about is 60-year-old Howard Dale Lake. Lake was convicted of sexually abusing a 7-year-old in Boone County last year. Lake told us that he was embarrassed by the signs and just wants to move on with his life.
Neighbor, Carole Seaton says he can move on with his life, just not on her street.
“I think he should move. I don’t care if he’s registered or not. There’s too many children around here to have someone like that live in this neighborhood,” said Seaton.
Brock Hutzler says police have stopped by his house on two occasions to talk with him about the signs.
“Well, on both visits the police officers were both relatively nice, and just wanted to make sure that I did not overstep boundaries of what would be considered information versus harassment.
Though Hutzler is legally allowed to have the signs on his lawn, Howard Lake says he plans on filing a civil suit against his neighbor in the coming days.
Howard Lake did not spend any time in prison, although we are unsure exactly why not. Instead, he’s on probation for four years. Lake says his landlord has ordered him to leave the property at the end of the month, but he is trying to stay longer. Sex offenders aren’t required to share their criminal background in person, since their information is provided by the state of Illinois online.
Wisconsin also provides information online, but law enforcement agencies there are more active in letting the community know when a sex offender is moving in.