River Falls man charged with repeated sexual assault
A River Falls man was charged last month with repeated sexual assault of child.
The maximum penalty for this felony is $100,000 and 40 years prison.
Matthew A. Bunnell, 26, 249 Foster Street, was accused of committing three or more sexual assaults on a girl, now 15. His next court appearance is 1:45 p.m. May 12 on a pretrial conference.
Members of the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Human Services and River Falls Police interviewed the victim in late March.
She described meeting Bunnell for the first time when she was five. He was a family friend.
When the victim was about 10, Bunnell began living with her family off and on for a couple of years. She described their relationship as "just friends." They played video games together, and he sometimes babysat her.
When she turned 12, she said the relationship became more intimate with some kisses exchanged between the two. The victim told investigators that Bunnell said he loved her just after she turned 14.
The first alleged sexual contact occurred while the pair was on a camping trip. The two had sex for the first time at the girl's home in River Falls and then 10 other times in the following months.
Both of the victim's parents became suspicious about the relationship between the two, but Bunnell told the victim's mother that nothing had happened.
The mother then asked the victim last December and she admitted to that the pair had relations once. She later admitted that she and Bunnell had been together several times.
The mother than confronted Bunnell and asked him what he was thinking. "I wasn't thinking, but I love her," was his response.
Get the complete story in this week's print editions of the Pierce County Herald and the River Falls Journal.