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Potential release of sex offender draws opposition

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) — Opposition is growing in Eau Claire to the release of a convicted sex offender from Wisconsin’s treatment program.

Sixty-year-old Jeffrey Smith has been held at the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston for 12 years since he served nearly 17 years of a 25-year prison sentence for the 1987 rape and strangulation death of Susan Fahrman, who was a UW-Eau Claire student.

A court-appointed psychologist says Smith meets the legal criteria for supervised release, and the Department of Human Services says he has made significant progress in treatment. An Eau Claire County judge will hold a hearing Jan. 22.

The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reports that Farhman’s siblings oppose Smith’s release and plan to attend his hearing. An online petition against Smith’s release has drawn more than 2,400 signatures.

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