State to amend complaint in sexual assault case

By Vicky Wedig

SLN staff

A judge Dec. 21 denied a father’s motion to dismiss a sexual assault complaint against him but agreed that a 5-1/2-year charging window violated the man’s rights.

The 46-year-old West Bend man, whose identity is being withheld to protect the victim, who is his daughter, is accused of first-degree sexual assault of a child; child enticement with sexual content; incest with a child; and exposing his genitals to a child.

The alleged abuse came up after his then-17-year-old daughter heard a presentation regarding sexual assault and safe dating Jan. 19, 2016, at the Alternative High School at Gateway Technical College in Elkhorn.

The girl sent a thank-you note to the presenter saying she was a victim but didn’t tell anyone until she was 11 years old, and by then her mom told counselors “that I was saying it for attention,” according to the complaint.

The alleged abuse took place between Jan. 1, 2001, and July 1, 2008, according to the criminal complaint, when the girl was 2 to 10 years old. The girl disclosed the abuse in January 2016, and it was investigated in February 2016. The man was charged in March 2017.

In court Dec. 21, the man’s attorney moved that the criminal complaint be dismissed. Judge Kristine Drettwan denied the motion to dismiss and said she does not believe the defendant’s rights were violated by the delay in the girl’s disclosure of the alleged abuse or in the time it took for the charges to be filed. However, she said she believes a five-year, five-month charging window on one of the incidents violates the defendant’s rights. That finding does not mean the court is dismissing that charge, however, according to online court records. Drettwan said a three-year charging window is justified and asked the state to amend the information in the criminal complaint based on its own determination of the dates, according to online records.

In the thank-you note the girl wrote to the Alternative High School presenter in January 2016, she referred to revealing the abuse to her mother when she was 11 years old and in fifth grade, according to the criminal complaint, which would have been around 2009.

The girl said by the time she was turning 13 years old and was in sixth grade – around 2010 – she was doing drugs, stealing her mom’s cigarettes and self-harming.

When interviewed in February 2016, the girl’s mother said the father had visitation rights with the girl and her brother between 2003 and 2008 during the times that the man was not incarcerated, according to the complaint. He had no visitation after 2008.

According to the criminal complaint, the girl estimated she was kindergarten age or younger – around 2003 or earlier – when her father would take baths with her at their Town of Lafayette home during which he would ask her to help clean him, “play with his stuff” and put his “private” in her mouth. She relayed another incident that happened in third grade; and her brother recalled incidents from when his sister was 6 or 7 years old, according to the complaint.

Sheriff’s Office records show the department investigated a report in 2005 from girl’s mother who said the man raped her, according to the complaint.

The state had until Jan. 5 to amend the complaint. A motion hearing at which Drettwan will determine whether to allow other acts as evidence will take place Jan. 31.

The defense also requested a continuance of the trial, which is now set to begin April 30.


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