MADISON (WKOW) -- His name is Gregory Westby, and by his own admission he's molested children going back over 30 years.
We told you last night about Judge Sarah O'Brien and her decision to let Westby loose. Tonight I look into his sordid past, a history bad enough to shock even veteran child welfare workers.
In a 2003 handwritten essay titled "Life History," Westby describes in graphic detail his dark history with children. He says it started when he was 4, when he tried fondling another boy.
Later, he says, he was raped and beaten by a close relative. By the time he was a teenager he was a full-fledged predator in his own right.
"When I turned 15 I molested a 5-year-old boy," he wrote, "which lasted for several months."
"I molested a 6-year-old boy on a regular basis for 5 years. I molested a 4-year-old a few times... but preferred the other."
"When I was 16 I molested an 8-year-old boy, the brother of a friend. I babysat for another boy and molested him."
Brenda Nelson, director of Safe Harbor, a nonprofit group that helps victimized children, says she understands why people are upset at Westby's release.
"I have lived in Madison a long time," she said. "I think it's been fairly rare where that we have had a case like this one, when a convicted sex offender is returning to the community that has the track record and the history that he has.
"It creates a lot of anxiety in the community, and that's totally understandable."
In 1996 Westby was convicted of one count of sexual assault against one victim. And though he served 10 years in prison, the state Justice Department asked O'Brien to keep him in a secure treatment facility, arguing that he is a diagnosed pedophile.
But O'Brien ordered him free because expert testimony said Westby's chance of his molesting more kids was 20 percent.
"Your story the other night was probably the first time it spiked on my radar," Ismail Ozanne, Dane County district attorney, said.
Ozanne says his office is powerless to go after Westby, even though he's admitted to innumerable crimes against nearly a dozen children.
"Just because he's making a statement that says he did x, we would have to be able to prove that," Ozanne said. "And we will need something more than just a statement."
I spoke with Westby yesterday, who's living at a hotel near East Towne Mall. He told me he only has enough money to last until Wednesday, at which point he'll be homeless.
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