A registered sex offender has been declared homeless after his release in the Ladysmith area last week.
Ladysmith Chief of Police Kevin Julien announced Wednesday, June 2, that Marc J. Gross, 35, had been released one day earlier from the custody of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
Although considered homeless, Gross is currently living at a home outside the city limits in the town of Grant. Gross likely will be seen at Ladysmith businesses and events, prompting Julien to issue an alert to the community.
Gross is required to wear an electronic GPS monitor that tracks his location and alerts law enforcement when he enters a restricted area. When that alert is received, Gross can be arrested.
“He is actually not living in the city of Ladysmith. He is living very close,” Julien said. “The uncertainty of where he was going to be living and the fact he isn’t even living in the city of Ladysmith I probably didn’t have to do a community notification. But, he is probably going to frequent Ladysmith, so obviously we decided we needed to do the release.”
Julien identified Gross’ current residence as a home on Tower Road.
“It sounds like he is staying there, but it is not going to be a permanent residence for him,” Julien said.
Gross is a convicted sex offender who committed his offense in the city of Ladysmith. He is described as a 5’9” white male weighing 260 pounds with brown eyes and red hair.
In March 2015 Gross was convicted in Rusk County Circuit Court of three amended felony counts of child enticement — recording. An additional five counts of possession of child pornography were dismissed but read in for sentencing purposes.
On the first count he was sentenced to six years of incarceration with 3 years in prison followed by 3 years extended supervision, which were stayed. He was ordered to serve 5 years probation.
On the remaining two counts, a 5 year probation sentence was withheld.
In 2015 while on probation, Gross was convicted of one misdemeanor count of possession of THC as a repeater.
In 2020, his probation was revoked and he was sentenced to prison.
According to the criminal complaint, a DOC special agent using specialized software, determined an internet protocol (IP) address on Corbett Avenue in Ladysmith and the files were believed to be child pornography. A laptop was located on July 9, 2014 under a search warrant.
The special agent contacted Gross who stated the laptop belonged to him. Gross admitted to downloading pornography. Gross told law enforcement he wasn’t looking for child pornography, but admitted he used search terms he knew would give him child pornography.
A computer forensic scientist examined the hard drive from the laptop and located eight videos depicting child pornography. According to the criminal complaint, the special agent reviewed the video recordings and labeled some of the children as infant, toddler, or very young children.
A decision to notify the Ladysmith community of Gross’ release has been made by members of a core team that review Special Sex Offender Bulletin Notifications forwarded by the Department of Corrections. Members of the Rusk County Core Team are comprised of local Law Enforcement, District Attorney’s Office, Crime Victim Service Office, Department of Corrections, local probation agents and a Health and Human Services Representative.
Gross remains under the close supervision of local Probation Agents. Gross is also required to follow specific and detailed rules prescribed by the Department of Corrections including no unsupervised contact with minors, no alcohol, no illegal narcotics, not entering liquor establishments, cooperating with electronic monitoring and maintaining a lifetime registration with the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registration Program.
Julien added officials had considered placing Gross into a motel, but the business being considered was within a prohibited area due to a new ordinance that restricts where sex offenders can live in the city.
The ordinance was adopted last summer, when Julien noted Ladysmith has almost as many registered sex offender residents as Rice Lake, a city nearly three times larger.
The ordinance states repeat sex offenders, sex offenders who use physical violence, and sex offenders who prey on children are sex predators who present an extreme threat to public safety. It continues, sex offenders are extremely likely to use physical violence and to repeat their offenses; and most sex offenders commit many offenses, have many more victims than are ever reported, and are prosecuted for only a fraction of their crimes.
The new ordinance applies to any person required to register as a sex offender for any offense against a child or person who requires public notice through a Special Bulletin Notification, a type of public notification reserved for high risk sex offenders. It would establish strict residency restrictions on sex offenders, banning them from living within 500 feet of any school for children, licensed day care center, public park, public library, public playground, recreational trail, any facility for children or any other place where children are known to congregate.
Violators face daily fines for violating the sex offender residency ordinance.
Julien doesn’t believe the city’s sex offender residency ordinance contributed to Gross being listed as homeless.
“He committed his crime in the city of Ladysmith so he is a candidate for living in the city of Ladysmith, but we still have the child protection zone that does prohibit him from moving to certain areas of the city. In my opinion there are still a fair number of areas he can reside,” Julien said.
The last time Gross was released from prison, he was placed into a Fritz Avenue home rented by the state Department of Corrections. That home is no longer an option as it is restricted under the city’s new sex offender residency ordinance.
Gross was not listed by the state Department of Corrections as an individual who is at risk to re-offend as Gross’ crime was child pornography and not a physical relationship with a minor, according to Julien.
Julien is not sure where Gross could live next. He added Gross has mentioned moving out of state, which corrections officials might not allow.
“I know for the time being he is living at that address on Tower Road outside the city of Ladysmith,” Julien said.
Julien added Gross is on a lifetime GPS monitoring system, which immediately notifies law enforcement when a participant enters a restricted area.
“If he would go to Memorial Park, OJ Falge Park, the library or one of the schools that would set off his monitor. It would send a transmission to Madison and we would go pick him up for a violation,” Julien said.
Julien added he has received complaints from individuals concerned Gross might end up living in a city park with no home.
“That can’t happen because he will have the exclusion zones on his electronic monitoring system which would prevent him from being in the park at all,” Julien said.
Julien backs the city’s sex offender residency restriction ordinance, which he originally proposed to the Ladysmith Common Council for passage last year. He noted it can result in homelessness for sex offenders released from prison, but there are other homes available without restrictions.
“Why can’t [Gross] find a residence outside the child protection zone? Those restrictions are in place for a good reasons, and I think most people would agree with me. We don’t need people who are in the Department of Corrections and just getting out of prison living across the street from schools,” Julien said.
The Wisconsin State Sex Offender Registry website lists Gross’ status as compliant, and his residence as unknown.