Waupaca County sex offender on the run

TOWN OF DAYTON – Waupaca County authorities are looking for a registered sex offender after he cut his bracelet early Wednesday morning.

Phillip Rath, 52, was convicted of sexually assaulting a child in 1993.

This isn’t the first time Rath has cut the bracelet and run.

Waupaca County Sheriff Brad Hardel says he received an early morning call that Rath was again gone.

“We are actively looking for him at this time. Most recent information we have is that he might be heading toward Plover. We’re not sure yet. Thought he was on foot, now he may be in a vehicle,” said Hardel.

Hardel says Rath cut the bracelet while staying at his mother’s home in town of Dayton.

Family friend Ray Hansen says he doesn’t know where the man he calls “Butch” went.

“I like Butch. It’s killing his mother, and it’s just tearing me apart because I see what it’s doing to her. Besides that, I wish he hadn’t done this,” said Hansen.

Authorities say Rath needs to register with the Department of Corrections as a sex offender for life. Rath wore the bracelet as part of his probation.

In February, Rath was quickly caught after doing the same thing.

“It was within 14 hours I think we had him, ended up a couple of miles from where he lives at another residence,” said Hardel.

The sheriff has turned to social media for help.

“We’re not aware that he’s re-offended since 1993, but we just don’t want to take the chance. So we’re doing our best to make sure the public’s aware of that,” said Hardel.

The Department of Corrections would not comment on this case.

Hardel says Rath could face additional charges and probation.

“If he’s cut the bracelet, not sure about the time, what’s going on, what’s his thought process. We don’t know what’s going to happen, that’s why we want to get him back as soon as possible,” said Hardel.

Hansen says he hopes Rath is caught soon.

“I’m worried about him yes. For his own good,” said Hansen.

The Department of Corrections says as of Tuesday, there were 819 people with monitoring bracelets statewide. That compares to about four in Waupaca County.

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