Joliet mayor demands answers on building that houses multiple sex offenders – NBC Chicago

The mayor of Joliet promises to take action against a building he says houses at least five convicted sex offenders.

According to Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, the building is located at 1000 Cora Street, and city officials were not informed that such an arrangement had been made.

“We were never informed by anyone that this was happening or was in place,” the mayor said. “It took the city by surprise and the neighborhood.”

The city of Joliet believes the property owner entered into a contract with the Illinois Department of Corrections that exempts him from a state law that prohibits housing more than one sex offender at a specific location.

“It’s absurd that anyone at any level of government thinks this is a good idea,” O’Dekirk said. “The City Legal Department has been instructed to take all appropriate action to shut down this site. I believe placing five sex offenders in one location in any city poses an imminent threat to the people within that neighborhood.

Joliet City Manager Jim Capparelli said he is considering all legal remedies available to the community.

“It gets to the heart of the matter that Joliet has become a dumping ground for Will County communities,” he said. “This needs to stop, and I will call for a moratorium on the expansion of existing social housing located in Joliet.”

O’Dekirk says he contacted Illinois Governor JB Pritzker to ask for his help in dealing with the situation.

Resident Robert Sassine has lived in the building for several years.

“I don’t even go out anymore,” Sassine said. “(There are) two or three people living in the same apartment. Who pays for this? The state?”

Julie Williams has lived in the neighborhood for more than five years and says she worries about her grandchildren.

“I understand that everyone needs a safe place to stay,” Williams said. “But our children too. They also need a place to be safe. Now I have to watch my back and watch my kids. When do they have a craving? How are they going to control it.”

A lawyer for NewDay Apartments sent this statement to NBC Chicago:

“NewDay provides safe and stable housing for enrollees, within the bounds of the law and under the supervision of the Illinois Department of Corrections. NewDay’s commitment to providing this housing opportunity meets an urgent need and makes the safer community. It also supports those who are working to rebuild their lives and contribute positively to society.”

Cunningham Borough Council said it would discuss the building at a meeting on Wednesday evening.

To learn more about sex offenders in Joliet and where you live, simply visit the Illinois Sex Offender Registry.

NBC Chicago

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