Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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New charges filed against volunteer

by Rob Ireland

July 12, 2012

Meiller
ELKHORN — A former volunteer with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization faces a new felony charge for sexual assaults that allegedly occurred at his home in LaFayette Township.

Rodney J. Meiller, 51, appeared in court on Wednesday afternoon.

He now faces three counts of repeated sexual assault of a child. All three felonies carry a maximum sentence of 60 years, which each carries a maximum sentence of 40 years of initial confinement and 20 years of extended supervision.

Two children have told police that they were sexually assaulted by Meiller, according to the criminal complaint. One of the alleged victims is 11, and the other is now 14.

During Wednesday afternoon's court hearing, defense attorney Frank Lettenberger said Meiller "understands the nature of the three charges and the possible penalties."

Meiller appeared at the hearing via video from the jail. Initially, his bond was set at $5,000, which he posted. However, after a second alleged victim stepped forward, his bond was increased an additional $5,000, which he hasn't posted.

Meiller is next set to appear in court on July 26 at 11 a.m. for a preliminary hearing. Before the hearing was scheduled, Lettenberger pushed for a later date because of scheduling conflicts.

However, Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo asked to expedite the hearing on behalf of the victims. She said the victims in the case was entitled to a speedy trial, as well.

Meiller met on of the alleged victims while volunteering with the Big Brother Big Sisters organization. After the allegations came to light, Meiller was terminated from the organization.

According to the amended criminal complaint:

On June 20, Brian Kilpin of the Walworth County Sheriff's Office spoke with a 14-year-old boy who said he met Meiller between 2004 and 2005.

The boy told Kilpin that up until the summer of 2010 he spent most Friday nights at Meiller's residence. The boy said the assaults occurred almost every time they were together.

The other alleged victim, an 11-year-old boy, was interviewed by Forensic Interviewer Paula Hocking June 18 at the Walworth County Child Advocacy Center.

The boy told Hocking that Meiller assaulted him multiple times in a shower stall at the YMCA and at Meiller's home.

Lake Geneva Police Department Det. Ed Gritzner interviewed Meiller, and Meiller told Gritzner that he met the boy in July or August of 2011.

Meiller allegedly told Gritzner that he showered in the same stall as the boy and once slept in the same bed.