|Wessels (click for larger version)|
April 01, 2014 | 11:07 AMELKHORN — A 24-year-old Illinois man is accused of raping a Walworth County woman who he met on a free online dating website.
Christopher D. Wessels of Rock Falls, Ill., has been charged with two counts of third-degree sexual assault.
If convicted of both counts, Wessels faces up to 20 years imprisonment and $50,000 in fines.
“He adamantly maintains his innocence,” Travis Schwantes, Wessels’ attorney, said. “We are looking forward to trying the case.”
Schwantes, said that his client maintains that he had consensual sex with the alleged victim and that no assault took place. The case is scheduled for a jury trial on May 5.
On Nov. 21, 2012, Wessels and the alleged victim met on the free dating website Plenty of Fish, which is where they exchanged email addresses and phone numbers.
That night, the alleged victim left her Walworth County home to pickup Wessels in Illinois.
The woman left her home at about 9 p.m. and arrived at Wessels residence at a quarter to midnight. After arriving at the woman’s Walworth County home, the two briefly slept before the morning, according to police reports.
The alleged victim told police that Wessels acted normal and reported no problems with Wessels during the following day.
On Nov. 22, 2012, at about 4 p.m., Wessels asked the woman to take him to buy alcohol. Wessels told her he opened up more after a few drinks.
They went to a gas station and Wessels bought beer and a bottle of vodka. The alleged victim told police that he hid the bottle of vodka from her. She also told police that she hadn’t been drinking that night.
“We think the facts will be that she took him to the liquor store, and knew what he was purchasing and they were drinking together,” Schwantes said. “There was no hidden drinking.”
According to the woman, after Wessels began drinking his behavior completely changed. He disclosed to her that he is still married and that he was on probation in Illinois for riding in a stolen car with his cousin.
Later that night, Wessels allegedly used a butter knife to open the bathroom door while the woman was taking a shower. A Walworth County Sheriff’s deputy, who went to the scene to collect evidence, reported that he was easily able to pry open the bathroom door with a butter knife. The woman also told police that she told Wessels to leave the bathroom.
As the night progressed, and Wessels continued to drink, his behavior became increasingly aggressive, the woman told police. Eventually, during the night, Wessels entered the woman’s room and allegedly sexually assaulted her, according to police reports.
During the assault, the woman reported that the more she fought with Wessels, the more aggressive he became. The next morning, the woman drove Wessels home. During the ride to Illinois, Wessels told the woman, “You know I’m a king and had to do what I had to do to get you as a queen.”
The victim told police she believes that this comment was in reference to Wessels claim to be a gang member. On Nov. 26, the victim reported the sexual assault to the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department.
Schwantes said his client’s version of the events are different than the alleged victim’s account of the night.
“They met on a dating site. They spent time together, and they had consensual sex,” Schwantes said. “After the consensual sex, she drove him 2 1/2 hours home, to where he lives in Illinois, with her daughter in the back seat.”
Before Wessels left the home, the victim secretly took his state identification card, which police used to identify Wessels. Wessels also left his cell phone at the victim’s home.
The assault was reported to police that Monday. Shortly after the assault was reported, Wessels was taken into custody in Illinois where he was held for unrelated charges and a probation violation. He wasn’t extradited to Walworth County until January of this year.
The Walworth County District Attorney’s office filed the felony charges against Wessels in December 2012. On Jan. 27, he pleaded not guilty to the two charges. He is now being held in the Walworth County jail on a $10,000 cash bond.
The Regional News filed an open records request with the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department for the police reports in this case and received them on March 17.