A man convicted of sexual assaults in two western Wisconsin counties will be moving into a St. Croix County apartment complex where three other sex offenders live.
The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office announced Brandon Langel, formerly of Woodville, will be living at 1102 County Road A in Burkhardt, an unincorporated community between Hudson and New Richmond.
Burkhardt resident Daniel Steltz, along with his wife and child, live directly across the street from the apartment complex.
The fact that four convicted sex offenders all live about 25 feet from his family’s doorstep is a chilling one for Steltz.
“It’s really concerning,” he said Tuesday, July 18.
A community notification spread last winter brought the realization that there were three offenders living there at the time. Langel’s presence adds a fourth to that list, which Steltz said “is particularly concerning to us.”
Steltz said that even though his family hasn’t experienced any problems with the offenders living there, the situation has led him to exploring the sale of his house in search of a new home.
Landlord Blaine Dorweiler owns the 1102 County Road A complex. He said he’s been in property management for 30 years and said he’s had no problems renting to sex offenders.
“I’ve got to fill it up to be profitable, so that’s what I’m trying to do,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve got to rent to who I’ve got to rent to.”
The difference, Dorweiler said, between sex offenders and other renters is that the offenders know that they have to keep their noses clean or they’re headed back to prison. Renting to them, he said, “is a no-brainer.”
“The sex offenders pay the rent religiously,” Dorweiler said.
Other renters, he said, often trash their units and leave the rent unpaid.
Asked if he has a concern with four sex offenders living in his complex, Dorweiler said “not really.” Probation can keep an eye on them easier all in one place, he said.
Dorweiler said he doesn’t have a screening system or criteria for tenants at the complex.
“They’re already sex offenders,” he said.
Court records show Langel pleaded no contest in St. Croix County in September 2008 to second-degree sexual assault of a child and received a deferred judgment.
His probation was revoked in February 2010 and he was sentenced later that year to four years in prison and 10 years on extended supervision.
Langel was also convicted in Chippewa County of third-degree sexual assault in September 2008.
St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Scott Knudson said Langel had been released after serving his four-year term on the revocation, but was sent back to prison after that. Langel cut off his GPS bracelet and went to California, where he was later caught, Knudson said.
Sex offenders released from the state’s corrections department must return to the community where their offense occurred, according to Wisconsin law.
Langel, who will be supervised by St. Croix County Community Corrections, must abide release conditions that include no contact with unsupervised minors, no alcohol or drugs and no entry to bars or liquor stores.
He must also spend the rest of his life on GPS monitoring and on the state’s sex offender registry.
Langel is described as standing 5-foot-5 and weighing 152 pounds. He is balding and has hazel eyes, according to authorities.
Langel is the third sex offender to move into the County Road A residence since January. Sheriff’s officials earlier this year announced 38-year-old Sean J. Kelley had moved there, followed by 48-year-old Gerald Heavner. Though Kelley later moved to Marathon County, two other sex offenders, Gregory Foster and Franklin D. Trode, also live at the County Road A address. According to Department of Corrections data, Foster is not under corrections supervision and will be removed from the sex offender registry in 2022. He is not considered a high-risk offender.