By Vicky Wedig

SLN Staff



A Delavan man appeared in court last week intending to waive a preliminary hearing in a sexual assault case against him but his attorney said he was not competent to do so Oct. 2.

The man, 67, was found not competent July 13 to stand trial on two charges of repeated sexual assault of a child for allegedly assaulting his granddaughters. He was taken to Mendota Mental Health Institute, and on Aug. 31 was deemed competent.

His attorney, Travis Schwantes, told Circuit Court Judge David Reddy on Oct. 2 that he’d met with his client in the Walworth County Jail the prior week, and, at that time, the man understood his rights and was prepared to waive his preliminary hearing. However, when the accused was brought into court in custody Oct. 2 – in a wheelchair and trembling – Schwantes said he was in no condition to sign the waiver.

“I do not feel comfortable proceeding with the preliminary hearing or the preliminary hearing waiver,” Schwantes said. “My client’s state today is similar to what it was when I raised competency concerns.”

Schwantes said his client was not able that day to sign a waiver voluntarily or intelligently.

“It would be a fruitless attempt to take a waiver at this point,” he said.

Reddy initially hesitated to continue the matter and “go back and forth” on the issue of the accused’s condition.

“It’s also the nature of competency,” Schwantes said. “It’s a fluid thing, and it changes day to day.”

Reddy set a status conference in the case for Oct. 5.

According to the criminal complaint:

The man’s 9-year-old and 8-year-old granddaughters told county officials May 24 and 25 that their grandfather touched them indecently numerous times beginning when the younger girl was about 4 years old.

The 9-year-old girl said her grandfather touched her vaginal area over and under her clothes. The girl said he also pulled his pants down and rubbed her “on his private.” The girl said she saw him do the same thing to her sister.

The 8-year-old girl said her grandfather initiated sexual intercourse three or four times, which he allegedly admitted.


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