Senator looking into North Star - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Senator looking into North Star

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Jeff Danielson is not only a state senator but he's also on the board at North Star.

He's aware that a local father is upset because his autistic daughter is being pursued by a registered sex offender, who attends North Star with her.

Senator Danielson says he is concerned for both sides of the issue here.

Part of North Star's mission statement says: "We empower each person to realize potential, pursue dreams, and enjoy life," but for Mike Hanneman's 33-year-old autistic daughter, that mission is in question.

"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.

The man, who we are not identifying, was released from jail in December.

He was convicted of sexually abusing a 5-year-old little girl, but North Star's Executive Director says he served his time, and now he deserves to be here.

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 and so he had some difficulties. It was a long time ago and he is trying hard to get better."

Mike and his family do not agree- especially after they found multiple letters like this one, from the sex offender to his daughter.

"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.

The family says they are not comfortable with her being around the sex offender and she's not either.

"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," Hanneman said.

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

The family says they support North Star- their daughter has been going there since 2007.

They say they just want their daughter to be separated from the sex offender.

Senator Jeff Danielson says he will be looking for a way to have this situation resolved for both sides.

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