If a detective with the Caledonia Police Department hadn't inadvertently found Peter T. Baumeister — a registered sex offender — living near two schools in the Kremer subdivision, he probably would still be living there.
Caledonia Police Chief Toby Schey said police would have never known about the man if not for the work done by the detective, but this case highlights a communications gap between the state's sex offender registry system and the department.
Baumeister, 37, of Caledonia, is a sex offender who was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child in Texas. He had been living in a residence in the 1500 block of Ellis Avenue, in the Kremer subdivision, since February. He pleaded no contest to the charge in 2004 and served six years in prison and was not under any type of supervision. However, he was required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and was compliant, according to a report by the Caledonia Police Department.
The state never notified Caledonia that he was living in the community, Schey said.
"It's certainly a gap in the system that I would like to see fixed," the chief said. "But we do get notified of the ones who are under supervision and we've prevented a lot of them from moving into the village."
So how did the Police Department find out about Baumeister?
The Caledonia detective was conducting an identity theft investigation that a relative of Baumeister's had filed with the department. She had learned that Baumeister was a convicted sex offender and living less than 700 feet away from St. Rita School and less than 1,500 feet away North Park Elementary School.
"It's certainly a gap in the system that I would like to see fixed."
Caledonia ordinance prohibits sex offenders from living in the village if they didn’t live in the community at the time of their offense and from living in protected zones.
Baumeister had registered with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department and with the state's sex offender registry when he moved in with another family member in Burlington in 2009. He moved to Caledonia in February and also notified the state of his new address.
Jackie Guthrie, director of public affairs for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, said that the department runs the state sex offender registry program in accordance to state statutes.
"We run the sex offender registry by Wisconsin state statutes as established by the state Legislature," she said. "Communities are notified in certain instances, but it depends on what type of sex offender they are... and it's based on their convictions and sentencing."
When the department realized Baumeister was living in Caledonia, detectives interviewed him. Baumeister told police he moved to the Caledonia residence so that he would be closer to “job opportunities,” but he was unemployed at the time. Baumeister said he would leave the residence on Ellis Avenue on Tuesday and move back with other family members who live in Burlington.