While a conviction for any crime has consequences, being convicted of a sex crime can carry some of the toughest penalties. Besides the legal repercussions that come with sex crime allegations, the personal reputation of the accused individual is also at stake. It is true that every person who is accused of a crime is innocent unless or until proven otherwise, but people accused of sex crimes are often considered guilty even before their trial begins.
Individuals charged with child sex crimes often feel at a complete loss because the public and media often make harsh judgments before even knowing the facts of a case. Sometimes people who used to be friends no longer are, and even family members might turn their backs after hearing of a sex crime allegation. In Wisconsin, public response to charges of Internet sex crimes tends to be no different.
Sex crimes such as child enticement are not taken lightly in Wisconsin. Guilty or not, individuals accused of sex crimes will be aggressively prosecuted, and penalties for a conviction are harsh.
In efforts to file criminal charges, sometimes police in Wisconsin will employ tricky tactics. That is exactly what happened in Waukesha County recently when a police officer pretended online to be a 15-year-old girl. Now a 44-year-old Milwaukee man has been charged with Internet crimes.
State law in Wisconsin stipulates that any convicted sex offender, after serving a prison sentence, will be released to the county where the alleged sex offense occurred. In such cases, what often happens is that a member of the local community will agree to provide a place of lodging for the released individual. However, sometimes the contract between the community member and the Department of Corrections falls through, resulting in a postponement of the sex offender's release.
The Waukesha County district attorney's office recently declined to file charges against a Catholic priest who has been accused of sexually abusing a minor in the mid-1990s. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has placed the priest on temporary leave while an investigation is being conducted.
This week's post relates in many ways to the topic of last week's entry: should consensual sex between teenagers result in jail time? As Wisconsin residents likely know, the matter isn't exactly cut and dry. Still, more often than not, criminal complaints are written to make conviction seem the only possible outcome of court proceedings. That is why a solid criminal defense will call into question the validity of a police report or a prosecutor's complaint, placing the burden of proof squarely on the prosecution and not on the defendant.
Despite what police and media reports would have us believe, many sex crimes cases are not as black and white as they might seem. While being charged with a sex offense is always a very serious matter, readers in the Milwaukee area likely know that police officers gather evidence specifically with a view toward obtaining a conviction. But the will to convict is not the same thing as having enough evidence to send people to jail and label them sex offenders for the rest of their lives. With these issues in mind, Wisconsin residents may be interested to hear of a case involving a young man who was convicted of a sex offense after it was determined that, as a senior in high school, he had sex with his girlfriend, who was a 14-year-old freshman at the time.
Wisconsin law may change with regard to how attempted child enticement is prosecuted. Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen supports a bill that is currently being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. If the bill is passed, state law would treat attempted child enticement the same as actually carrying out the crime.
A Wisconsin teenager recently avoided a prison term after being sentenced for serious sexual assault charges. The terms of the sentence given to the teenager were 18 months in prison and 18 months of extended supervision, but the judge stayed the sentence and placed the teenager on probation for five years. The judge reprimanded the teen and advised him that if he violates the terms of his probation, he will be sent to prison. If he behaves and meets all conditions of his probation, the teen will not see any prison time -- at least not for the latest sexual assault convictions (he was previously sentenced to a year in the Racine County Jail in another sexual assault case from Walworth County involving the same victims).The teen was most recently convicted on two counts of third-degree sexual assault of a child and stood accused of having sexual relations with three teenage boys in Racine County. According to the boy's lawyer, the victims also happened to be his friends. The boys apparently met when they were 10 or 11 years old. At the time of the alleged assaults, the accused teenager was 17, and the younger boys were 14 years old.