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DA will drop charges against cop



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July 28, 2010 | 08:59 AM
Elkhorn —Prosecutors agreed to drop felony charges against a town of Geneva cop in exchange for his badge.

Robert B. Haase, 42, Elkhorn, a town of Geneva police officer has agreed to resign. Then, two felony charges of misconduct in office will be dismissed.

Although Haase won't work in Geneva Township again, it is unclear whether he could work as a police officer in the future.

After a Tuesday morning court appearance in Walworth County, Haase and his defense attorneys, Melissa Frost and Stephen Kramer, declined to comment.

Last month, Haase's defense team won a motion to prevent the Walworth County District Attorney's Office from prosecuting the case.

Both the Wisconsin Attorney General's Office and the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office were asked to prosecute the case, but decided there wasn't enough merit to pursue charges.

"We believed in the case, but intelligent and reasonable minds can disagree," Walworth County District Attorney Phil Koss said.

Koss said the effects Haase's investigation had on the current sexual assault case against Scott J. Anderson speaks for itself.

Initially, Anderson was charged with felony repeated sexual assault of a child. However, in May, that charge was reduced to misdemeanor fourth-degree sexual assault.

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At that time, Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube said he wouldn't have reduced the charges if it weren't for how Haase handled the investigation.

Koss said Haase is no longer a part-time police officer in the city of Delavan. However, Koss said he wasn't sure whether Haase could become an officer in another community in the future.

If Haase became an officer in another community in Walworth County, Koss said it could be difficult to prosecute his cases.

"I would have to look at this on a case-by-case basis, but I would be very concerned," Koss said.

Shortly after the hearing, Geneva Town Chairman Dan Lauderdale said the agreement is "peaceful" and "beneficial" to the community.

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"The resignation comes at no cost to the town, with no payout," Lauderdale said. "I'm sorry for the 11-year-old victim. I hope justice is served as best it can be with Anderson and his reduced charge."

Last month, the Geneva Town Board hired an attorney to look at pursuing additional charges or disciplinary action against Haase.

Now, as a result of the agreement, Lauderdale said the town will no longer pursue additional charges.

Lauderdale, who is a police officer in the village of Williams Bay, said he is concerned about the possibility of Haase working in law enforcement in another community.

"I'm hopeful an agency he chooses to apply to would do an adequate background check. It's all about his credibility, " Lauderdale said. "I don''t know that a prosecutor would be able to charge or convict a case with him. I'm confident all defense attorneys would challenge his credibility."

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Although the charges will ultimately be dismssed, Lauderdale was pleased to see they were filed.

"I would like to thank the District Attorney's Office for its part in demanding accountability in a police officer's action," Lauderdale said.

During Tuesday morning's court hearing, Frost said the agreement was fair because Haase intended to resign from the department.

The charges against Haase haven't officially been dismissed yet because the Walworth County District Attorney's Office can't officially dismiss them.

However, Haase's defense attorneys agreed to allow Koss to re-enter as a prosecutor to dismiss the case.

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