By Shereen Siewert

A sex offender committed in 1996 to a secure treatment center as a sexually violent person will be released Wednesday in Wausau and will be supervised by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, according to the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department.Shawn Welch, 45, was convicted in 1993 of two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child, according to court records. He was sentenced to five years in prison. But in 1996, the court received a petition to declare Welch a sexually violent person. As a result, Welch was sent to the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center, the Mauston facility that houses sex offenders who have been committed to the state.

Welch has several times petitioned for release but was previously unsuccessful.

On Wednesday, Welch will become a Wausau resident and will be under supervision by a contract specialist with the Division of Care and Treatment Facilities.

Welch’s address and status will be updated in the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry. He is required to register as a sex offender for life.