Western Wisconsin Roundup: Rice Lake assemblyman in hot water over rape commentWestern Wisconsin News
-- A remark made last December about teenage sex-and-rape has become an issue in a state Assembly campaign.
A remark made last December about teenage sex-and-rape has become an issue in a state Assembly campaign. G-O-P Representative Roger Rivard of Rice Lake was commenting on a high school rape case when he said his father warned him that quote, “some girls rape easy” – meaning that women can agree to sex, and then claim later that it was not consensual. The remark has come back to haunt Rivard, as he faces a tight battle to win his second term next month against Democrat Stephen Smith. Rivard told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel yesterday that the Chetek newspaper did not give the full context of what he said last December. He meant that his father advised him not to have pre-marital sex – and he took the advice seriously. A few hours later, Rivard issued a statement clarifying his remark even further. He said sexual assault is a crime that is “unfortunately misunderstood,” and often goes unreported to police – and he called it a horrible act of violence that he takes very seriously. Rivard’s election opponent said he learned about the incumbent’s remarks last August, after Missouri Congressman Todd Akin drew controversy for saying that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancy in cases of quote, “legitimate rape.” Smith said Rivard’s comments are offensive, and his views are out of touch and quote, “extreme.” Pennie Meyers of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault says people need to be better educated about sexual violence. She calls it an under-reported and under-prosecuted crime.
A Minnesota man has been charged in the killings of a La Crosse man and his son at their photography store last month. 39-year-old Jeffry Lepsch of Dakota Minnesota was stopped as he drove away from his home yesterday afternoon. He surrendered without incident, after a warrant was issued charging him with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. He’s due in court in Winona today on a request to extradite him to Wisconsin to face charges in the deaths of 56-year-old Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son A-J. They were shot September 15th at May’s Photo in downtown La Crosse. A criminal complaint was not immediately available. La Crosse Police plan to say more at a news conference today. Winona County authorities searched the suspect’s car and house. They said they found important evidence, but would not say if the murder weapon turned up. The La Crosse Tribune said Lepsch spent a year in jail after he pleaded no contest to stealing thousands-of-dollars in merchandise from an Ace Hardware distribution center where he worked in La Crosse. He was arrested for that in 2003. Petras’s widow Sherri told the Tribune she never heard of Lepsch.
One of two U-W Eau Claire students killed in an apartment fire on Monday died from carbon monoxide poisoning. That’s according to an autopsy on the body of 21-year-old Ross Livermore of Stillwater Minnesota. He was found dead by authorities, while 21-year-old Jacob Clarkson of Stillwater had serious burns. He died on Tuesday at a Minneapolis hospital. Two of the other friends from Stillwater escaped with minor injuries. They lived in a four-bedroom apartment above a real estate business in Eau Claire. Authorities say it might take some time to determine the cause of the fire.