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|Wessels (click for larger version)|
May 06, 2014 | 01:31 PMELKHORN — Prosecutors have dismissed charges against an Illinois man accused of rape after the alleged victim reported she wouldn’t be able to testify.
Christopher Wessels, 24, of Rock Falls, Ill., had been charged with two counts of third-degree sexual assault.
According to the court minutes from April 28, the victim in the case told Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube that she had cancer and recently had a significant surgery and was scheduled for more surgery.
Grube moved to dismiss the case without prejudice, which means he can file the charges again in the future. According to the court minutes, Grube would re-evaluate the case based on the alleged victim’s medical issues.
In early April, the Regional News reported on the Wessels case and his attorney, Travis Schwantes, said that his client “adamantly maintains his innocence.”
In the April interview, Schwantes said that his client maintains that he had consensual sex with the alleged victim and that no assault took place. The case was scheduled for a jury trial on May 5.
On April 23, prior to the state dismissing the case, it was heard on three motions related to it. One of the motions was to amend the charges to a more serious offense and the other two motions was to introduce other acts as evidence.
At that motion hearing, Reddy denied all three of the state’s motions.
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 in April. “There was no hidden drinking.”
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 woman 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.
In the April interview, 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. Until the charges were dismissed, Wessles was being held in the Walworth County jail.