Aurora mayor: Evictions of child sex offenders at Wayside not about 'Ripper Crew' member
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said Tuesday the city did not send eviction notices to 19 child sex offenders living at a halfway house in retaliation for the facility's acceptance of Tom Kokoraleis, a convicted killer and member of the infamous "Ripper Crew."
Irvin said the 30-day notices issued June 27 came out of the city's efforts in February to assign addresses to all of its parks to assist police and firefighters responding to an area.
Aurora city officials determined that the Wayside Cross Ministries, 215 E. New York St., was less than 500 feet away from McCarty Park, 50 E. Park Place, and asked Wayside not to take in any new sex offenders, the mayor said.
"The city started this conversation in February, nearly two months before the Tom Kokoraleis situation," Irvin said. "For us, the law is clear."
Under state law, registered child sex offenders are prohibited from living within 500 feet of a park. The restriction does not affect Kokoraleis, who was released from prison after serving 35 years of a 70-year sentence for the 1982 murder of Lorraine "Lorry" Borowski of Elmhurst.
Kokoraleis must register his address with police because he is on the state's sex offender registry, but he is not a child sex offender, so he doesn't have to move.
A 20th notice was sent to another child sex offender not living at Wayside; city officials didn't have information on what park that person lived near.
Wayside Cross' Executive Director James Lukose issued a statement last week about the eviction notices. "Releasing these 20 men into the community without supervision and support is not in the best interest of these residents or the community," read part of the statement.
Irvin, who has been critical of Wayside since it accepted Kokoraleis in March, did not directly answer a hypothetical question of whether Wayside's location would be appropriate for child sex offenders if the park was not there or more than 500 feet away.
"State law exists for a reason, and that's protection of children. Let's recognize that these individuals we're speaking of are convicted child molesters," Irvin said. "Wherever they go, they cannot be within 500 feet of where children play."
Richard Veenstra, the city of Aurora's corporation counsel, said Wayside's property line is within 450 to 500 feet from the center of the park.
Veenstra said that after the 30 days are up -- on Friday, July 26 -- the city will see who is left and then take the matter to the Kane County state's attorney's office for review.
Under state law, a child sex offender living less than 500 feet from a school can be charged with a class 4 felony, which carries a sentence ranging from probation to up to three years in prison upon conviction.