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CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: La Crosse man loses his appeal on sexual assault charge

LA CROSSE -- A La Crosse man imprisoned for threatening to sexually assault a 15-year-old girl at knifepoint in 2011 lost his appeal to a judge Thursday to withdraw his guilty plea. The La Crosse Tribune reports that 63 year old Edward Mathews represented himself during the hearing when he tried to convince a La Crosse County Circuit Judge Dale Pasell that attorney Sean O’Neill “with criminal and corrupt intent” waived his right to a hearing that challenged the voluntariness of his confession. He wanted his plea and 12-year prison sentence vacated but Pasell found he failed to show that O’Neill was deficient. Police say the victim was walking to school Oct. 14, 2011 when Mathews, armed with a knife, approached and told her to walk behind a house a take off her pants. The girl pretended to comply before fleeing. He was arrested days later when an officer caught him loitering in a car near Logan High School and discovered he was a registered sex offender. Police found a knife and clothing matching the assailant’s description in his car.


Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink is facing a possible felony charge for posting online a photo of his ballot in the primary for his re-election. A City Council candidate saw the post and filed a complaint with the district attorney, who was debating moving forward with charges as of Thursday. The Government Accountability Board has issues warnings about such actions becuase the issue has come up in multiple elections in the last few years as voters photograph their ballots and share them on social media. Vruwink said he was unaware the act was a crime and that he contacted the GAB after taking the photo down Wednesday. The GAB said the law is in place to prevent the sale of votes in elections.


WSAU Radio reports there may soon be local ordinances to help control prostitution in the Wausau area. Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel says work is underway to draft an ordinance that would require people advertising escort services to be licensed. Hardel says this would be an additional tool along with existing criminal law to deter people from engaging in these activities. Hardel says now, the criminal charges are their only option. Wausau is not the only community looking into this option. So is the Everest Metro Police district of Weston and Schofield. They are looking at fines in the $2,000 to $5,000 dollar range, and requiring licensed escorts to be fingerprinted, pass background checks, and file a formal business plan. Weston could pass their ordinance as early as April 7th.


A plea agreement in a fatal heroin overdose case in Sheboygan County could lead to charges in a large drug distribution operation. Monica Sanchez pleaded no contest to first-degree reckless homicide and distributing heroin Thursday. Sanchez provided the heroin that killed William Widucki at his Sheboygan apartment last December. The Sheboygan Press Media reports Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco (deh-CHEK'-oh) will recommend Sanchez serve nine months in jail and five years of probation if she testifies against her Chicago area drug supplier and 20 other people involved in a heroin distribution ring. The 26-year-old Sanchez could have faced 50 years in prison on the charges against her.


The personal data of thousands of University of Wisconsin-Parkside students may have been compromised due to a hacker attack on the school's server. The university notified students Thursday. Potentially at risk are the names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and Social Security numbers of students who were admitted or enrolled at the university since fall of 2010. The Journal Times reports the total number of students affected could be as high as 15,000.