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Judge recuses himself in case of homeowners association hoping to prevent sex offender from living in area
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Judge recuses himself in case of homeowners association hoping to prevent sex offender from living in area

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A new judge will be assigned in the case of a Beatrice homeowners association seeking to prevent a registered sex offender from living in its neighborhood.

The Wildwood Estates Homeowners Association filed a civil complaint in Gage County District Court last month, seeking to prevent Jeff Hawks from living in the area.

A motion for a temporary injunction in the case was set for hearing on Monday, but District Court Judge Rick Schreiner instead recused himself from the case, citing personal relationships with plaintiffs in the case.

“As I reviewed this case further this morning it became apparent to me, and after consulting with the other two district court judges in the district, the court administrator’s office and the supreme court, that the proper thing for me to do is to recuse myself and ask that another judge be appointed,” he said. “I don’t give up my work easily, but this is my fault. I had time to recognize this conflict and I didn’t, and I brought you all here this morning hoping to get an answer and you’re not going to get one.”

The complaint states that Hawks has resided at 109 Wildwood Court St., north of the Beatrice Country Club, for more than three days with intent of making the residence his permanent home. Hawks was convicted of third-degree sexual assault of a child in Lancaster County in February 2016.

He was released on parole on Aug. 10, and is required to register as a sex offender for 25 years.

Court documents state the covenants of Wildwood Estates stipulate that “no person shall at any time own, lease, reside, visit, stay or be in the premise of any lot within the property or commons within Wildwood Estates who is required to register as a sex offender or sexual predator…”

The homeowners association is seeking an injunction to prevent Hawks from living in the area, claiming it’s in the interest in the residents’ safety and welfare.

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