Letters from sex offender concern family of autistic woman - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Letters from sex offender concern family of autistic woman

Posted: Updated:

A local family is concerned, saying a registered sex offender is actively pursuing their daughter with autism.

The two met at North Star - a non-profit agency that helps adults with disabilities. It helps creates opportunities for adults to learn how to work and live in the community.

Both of the adults involved attend the facility.

She has benefited from the program for several years, but he's been there only a matter of months...ever since he was released from jail.

He was serving time for inappropriate contact with a five-year-old girl and that upsets the woman's father.

Mike Hanneman's 33-year-old daughter has autism.

"She said she thought he was nice but the things that he is doing...she doesn't understand or recognize the danger aspect with it," Hanneman said.

She has been going to North Star Community Services for more than five years but that may soon change. A registered sex offender, who also attends North Star, has been pursuing her and writing her letters, saying things like "I want to really love you."

North Star's Executive Director Mark Witmer said, "He has a disability and part of the problem with that is that he doesn't know how to express himself. He had some difficulties but it was a long time ago and he is trying hard to get better."

"I don't think it's an appropriate placement or venue for somebody with that type of background or history to be around vulnerable handicapped people," Hanneman said.

But North Star says the man deserves to be there.

"He has a disability and he is doing well here, so we would like to let him keep going," Witmer said.

The man hasn't physically done anything with Mike's daughter, but Mike says the letters are proof that history can repeat itself and things may be going down a dangerous path.

"I'm all for giving someone a second chance but he has been acting out a bit with some of this stuff with my daughter and I can't stress enough with vulnerable handicapped people.... that's like putting a wolf in a pit with a bunch of sheep...it just doesn't make sense," Hanneman said.

"I just think this situation was, you know blown out of proportion," Witmer said.

A police report has been filed by the family about this incident and Mike says as long as the convicted sex offender stays, his daughter will not go back to North Star.

The man involved in this was convicted in 2004 of lascivious acts with a child.

He served a ten year sentence and was released in December.

Powered by Frankly