A hotel employee in another Midwestern state contacted police recently to report a suspected child-related abuse incident. Police responded quickly, arresting a Wisconsin man at a Quality Inn. The 48-year-old Stoughton resident was charged with raping a minor under age 10 and more than a half dozen counts of gross sexual imposition.
Investigators recovered a girl's swimsuit, a cellphone and surveillance video. DNA was collected from the defendant, the child and a 29-year-old woman, also from Stoughton. Police and news reports did not indicate what connection the Wisconsin woman had to the alleged crime.
A sexual assault testing kit was employed in the investigation. Authorities stated evidence from the scene provided probable cause to make the arrest. A judge ordered the defendant to be jailed on $2 million bond.
The Wisconsin man, a materials handler at a Madison company, is a registered sex offender. The defendant's name was placed on the Wisconsin sex offender registry permanently after two separate convictions for federal sex crimes in the 1990s.
Allegations against defendants in some sexual assault cases can be disputed, particularly when the only evidence is one person's word against another. Allegations made by a child are considered carefully by prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges. A minor's statements can be influenced by an interviewer's questions and a desire to please adults.
The legal system offers defendants legal options, even in cases where evidence is too strong to avoid a conviction. Plea bargaining - concessions by prosecutors in exchange for a guilty plea -- may be possible to reduce charges or sentencing penalties. A plea deal avoids ongoing media attention, the uncertain verdict of a jury and the high stress of a criminal trial.
Not all defendants have the opportunity to strike a deal with prosecutors. A criminal defense attorney will review the options open to a defendant and explain the possible consequences associated with each of them.
Source: WHIO, "Bond set at $2M for Wisconsin child rape suspect," Aug. 09, 2015