Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Delavan man pleads not guilty to sexual assaults

by Rob Ireland

December 13, 2012

ELKHORN — A 68-year-old man pleaded not guilty Dec. 11 to sexually assaulting two young girls in his Delavan apartment.

David L. Burdick, 353 Tyrrell Court, No. 313, is charged with two counts of repeated sexual assault of a child. If convicted, he faces up to 120 years imprisonment.

Burdick knew the alleged victims, who were 4 and 8 when the assaults reportedly began.

Although the Walworth County District Attorney's Office filed the charges in June, after six months Burdick just waived his preliminary hearing and entered a not guilty plea, which are typically some of the earliest proceedings to occur.

Burdick's case has been delayed because he was twice sent to a mental health facility.

On Wednesday, Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube demanded a speedy trial because of the delays. After Burdick's next court appearance, a Jan. 11 status conference, Grube wants a jury trial date set.

"After (Public Defender Travis Schwantes) reviews the discovery, I assume we will talk about whether there is a resolution to be had," Grube told Judge John Race.

The discovery evidence only became available to Schwantes after Thursday's hearing.

"My client is eager to move this case forward," Schwantes told Race.

The delays in the case started after a doctor determined Burdick wasn't competent to stand trial, and that he needed treatment to regain competency.

Competency isn't related to a defendant's state of mind when the alleged offenses occurred. Competency is questioned when a prosecutor, defense attorney or judge have reasons to doubt the defendant's ability to understand the legal proceedings and to assist council in legal representation.

Shortly after the charges were filed, Schwantes questioned whether Burdick was competent to stand trial. A doctor evaluated Burdick and determined he wasn't competent, and he was sent to the Mendota Mental Health Institute, Madison.

At Mendota, after Burdick received treatment, he was restored to competency and returned to the Walworth County Jail.

Shortly thereafter, Burdick appeared in front of Race, but he couldn't communicate with the judge. Later, after making their own observations, the staff at the Walworth County Jail sent Burdick back to Mendota.

Burdick was re-evaluated and it was determined he was competent to stand trial, and he returned to the jail where he is being held on a $15,000 cash bond.

Burdick was shackled and wearing an orange jail jump suit during Wednesday's proceeding. Schwantes told Race that Burdick is "no where close to being able to post" his bond.

At Wednesday's court proceeding, Burdick responded to Race's questions. When asked if he understood the proceedings Burdick responded he did.

Race also asked him if he had any questions.

"No. I don't have any questions, sir," he responded.

According to the criminal complaint:

Walworth County Sheriff's Det. Robert Schiltz observed interviews of the two victims on May 24 and 25.

The interviews were done by Paula Hocking, a forensic interviewer at the Walworth County Child Advocacy Center.

During the interview, the older girl said Burdick had touched her numerous times.

She also said she walked in on Burdick doing the same thing to the younger girl.

The older girl said this happened a lot, and she believed the touching began when she was 8, and it made her feel nervous.

When Hocking interviewed the younger girl she said she was keeping a secret and didn't want to get in trouble. The girl said the touching began when she was 4 and continued throughout the years.

On May 25, Walworth County Sheriff's Det. Michael Lambert interviewed Burdick about the alleged assaults.

During the interview, Burdick allegedly admitted to touching the victims. He also said this happened more than 10 times.