Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Remove Images

Former cop makes court appearance

by Rob Ireland

May 08, 2014

ELKHORN — Former Genoa City and Bloomfield police officer Aaron Henson allegedly told a Walworth County Sheriff's detective that he stole money from the Genoa City police department because he was having financial troubles, according to a recently released criminal complaint.

On Thursday afternoon, the Regional News was able to obtain a copy of the criminal complaint.

According to court records, on March 16 Walworth County Sheriff's Department detectives executed a search warrant on Henson's home.

At Henson's home, one of the detectives told Henson that they were investigating money missing from the bond box in Genoa City.

Henson initially told the detective that he didn't know money was missing.

The detective then told Henson that there was video surveillance footage of Henson using a fly swatter to remove bond envelopes.

Henson told the detective that "he was having financial problems due to his wife being out of work.

"He stated that he had stolen on an earlier occasion and used that money to pay $400 per month toward his wife's medical bills and also used some of that money to pay his $417 truck payment," according to the criminal complaint.

According to the search warrant affidavit, on April 7, Genoa City Police Chief Joseph Balog was contacted by his administrative assistant, who reported to him that there was money missing from the bond box.

After the money went missing, on April 11, the assistant photographed and recorded the serial numbers of $230 in cash, which she then placed into the bond box.

On April 14, the assistant discovered that the $230 of pre-recorded cash and $1,728.30 in other bond envelopes was missing.

Later that day, Balog photographed and recorded the serial numbers to another $400 and installed a video camera near the bond box.

After the search warrant was executed, Henson was arrested and taken to the Walworth County jail. He was released the next day on a signature bond.

On Thursday afternoon, Henson made his first court appearance since he was released from custody.

After the hearing, Henson's attorney, Frank Lettenberger, said he couldn't comment on the case, and that he just received a copy of the complaint.

Henson is next scheduled to appear before Judge David Reddy on May 12.

Judge Phillip Koss handled Thursday afternoon's bond hearing, and he said he would recuse himself from future proceedings because he has a long history with Henson from his time as the district attorney.

However, Koss did grant a bond modification request that was filed by Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel.

Schimel, who is handling the case as a special prosecutor, asked that the no-contact provision on Henson's former employers be lifted. Schimel has been the district attorney in Waukesha County since 2006, and he is currently running for Wisconsin Attorney General.

The motion states that municipal prosecutor Steven Harvey asked that the no contact order be lifted "related to subpoenas for any municipal ordinance violation trials that may be issued as a result of his work as a former Bloomfield village police officer, and for any administrative proceedings related to his former employment."
Criminal case fallout

Walworth County District Attorney Daniel Necci said that about a half-dozen criminal cases that former police officer Aaron Henson worked on have already been dismissed.

On Thursday afternoon, when asked if municipal cases would have to be dismissed, Bloomfield municipal prosecutor Steven Harvey said he is “still examining that.” However, he said he still plans on issuing subpoenas for Henson to appear at needed municipal hearings.

Public Defender Travis Schwantes said that his office has received notice that at least three of its cases will be dismissed, including a felony drug case.

Schwantes said his office has received notice that two misdemeanor cases of operating after revocation were dismissed. He also said an attorney in his office was told that a felony possession of a narcotic drug case was also going to be dismissed. The district attorney’s office has informed the public defenders office that it is reviewing two other cases — an OWI and a felony drug case.

Necci said he is reviewing all the cases prior to dismissal.

“Several of my ADAs have cases assigned to them with Aaron Henson. Every attorney is looking at their own cases and doing their own determination as to what we can still prove and what we can’t,” Necci said. “If an ADA believes that a case can no longer be proved it gets routed to my desk, and I review it. I’ve approved everyone so far.”

Necci said that the cases have primarily been OWIs.

“His testimony would be integral in proving the case, and his testimony is no longer credible,” Necci said. “Not because of the charges filed, because he is innocent until proven guilty, but because of the allegations behind the charges. The allegations alone, I believe, would be admissible at trial.”