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Woman gets probation for underage sex

October 17, 2013

ELKHORN — A 37-year-old woman who had sex with two 15-year-old boys last September in her Sharon apartment will spend the next three years on probation.
Rachael A. McCormick, now 38 and of East Troy, was also sentenced to six months in jail with work-release privileges, and she will have to register as a sex offender for the next 15 years.
McCormick was initially charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 16, Class C felonies each punishable by 40 years imprisonment. However, through a plea agreement, the charges were reduced to two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree sexual assaults and two felony charges of exposing a child to harmful materials, both Class I felonies that are punishable by up to 3 1/2 years imprisonment each.
On Sept. 29, 2012, which was the night of the high school’s homecoming dance, four juvenile boys were at McCormick’s home. McCormick began consuming raspberry vodka and Jagermeister, and by her account and witness accounts, she became intoxicated.
A 15-year-old boy asked McCormick for alcohol, which she provided, according to Assistant District Attorney T.C. Makaya. Makaya said McCormick made sexual advances on one of the children, but that boy refused her advances. Eventually, McCormick and one of the 15-year-olds went into a bedroom and had sex. That same night McCormick had sex with another 15-year-old boy.
“She is 37 years old and more than twice the age of all those involved,” Makaya said.
Makaya said the boys at the home weren’t mature — after one of the children passed out the others squirted ketchup onto him — and McCormick took advantage of the children.
McCormick’s attorney, Joshua Klaff, said McCormick was overmedicated at the time of the incident, and friends and family reported that she was in a “zombie-like state” the days before it. McCormick initially pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to the charges because she was under the influence of prescription medication.
“She mixed alcohol with her medication and things got out of control,” Klaff said. “She was passing out left and right and then things really got out of control.”
During the hearing, Makaya said that legally the gender of the defendant shouldn’t have an effect on the case.
“We know this would be looked at in a completely different light if it was a 37-year-old man having sex with a 15-year-old girl,” Makaya said.
As part of the plea agreement, the prosecution couldn’t make a recommendation on the length of sentence. A presentence investigation (PSI) — which is a report generated by the Department of Corrections that examines the crime and the defendant’s criminal history — recommended a three year probation sentence.
“No one is asking for prison. Not the state, not the PSI and certainly not the defense,” Klaff said.
One of the victims in the case asked for McCormick to receive probation and treatment. That victim’s parent also suggested probation, and told the PSI writer that McCormick “suffered enough embarrassment and that she will suffer for the rest of her life for this.”
During McCormick’s interview with the PSI writer, she admitted that while in jail — as the charges were pending — she fantasized about having sex with strangers and sadomasochism. Fetish magazines were also located in her home, Makaya said. Makaya argued that the “sexually-deviant behavior” was another aggravating factor in the case.
“Fetish behavior is legal,” Klaff said. He argued that McCormick shouldn’t be punished more because she answered the PSI writer’s questions honestly.
Makaya said McCormick also was having a sexual relationship with a 19-year-old man at the time of her arrest.
“I think it is indicative to the point that she has the propensity to target younger, less mature people.”
Prior to the sentencing hearing, McCormick had spent 268 days in the county jail. In the event her probation is revoked and she is sent to prison, the time served in the jail will count toward that sentence.

Judge Koss
Before sentencing McCormick, Judge Philip Koss called the night of McCormick drinking with four young boys a “recipe for disaster.”
“She was clearly taking advantage of the situation that presented itself,” Koss said.
Koss said he agreed with Makaya that sexual assault cases should be looked at the same whether the defendant is male or female.
However, he also pointed out that McCormick didn’t plead guilty to the more serious Class C felonies.

Chief Buchholz
Sharon Police Chief Brad Buchholz also attended the sentencing hearing. He said in the village of Sharon his officers don’t have to investigate many child sexual assault cases.
“Our officers stepped up to face the challenge,” he said. “I think they did that extremely well.”

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Family allegedly selling cocaine

October 17, 2013

ELKHORN — A man, his wife and stepson were allegedly selling a quarter of a kilogram of cocaine every two to three weeks from their town of Walworth home.
Abel J. Sanchez, 41, W6160 State Line Road, has been charged with possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, in an amount greater than 15 grams but less than 40 grams and maintaining a drug trafficking place.
If convicted of both felonies, Sanchez faces up to 28 1/2 years in prison and $110,000 in fines.
Francisco Pineda, 24, same address, has been charged with the same felonies and an additional misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.
If convicted of all counts, he faces up to 30 years imprisonment and $111,000 in fines.
Sanchez’s wife isn’t named in the complaint and charges haven’t been filed by the Walworth County District Attorney’s Office.
Pineda is being held in custody on a $50,000 cash bond, and Sanchez is being held on a $75,000 cash bond.
During the raid of the home, Sanchez told police that he purchased a quarter kilogram of the cocaine every two to three weeks from a Chicago supplier. A quarter kilogram is 250 grams.
Sgt. Jeff Patek with the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department Drug Unit said typically 3.5 grams of cocaine is sold for between $160 and $170.
Patek said this was also one of the largest cocaine busts in the county this year.
According to the criminal complaint:
On Oct. 1, the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the city of Delavan Police Department raided the home on State Line Road.
During the raid, Sanchez admitted to police that he, his stepson, Pineda, and his wife sell cocaine and have been for about two years.
Inside of a kitchen drawer, a digital scale, a known cutting agent and multiple bags of cocaine were discovered. The police found 37.72 grams of cocaine in the kitchen drawer.
Pineda admitted to selling cocaine for Sanchez.
He also said he threw marijuana out his bedroom window when he heard the police arrive at the residence.
Outside of the home, below the window in the room Pineda was found in, police found three bags of marijuana that weighed a total of 11.08 grams.

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Bay man pleads guilty to significantly reduced charge

October 17, 2013

ELKHORN — A 44-year-old Williams Bay man plead guilty to a significantly reduced charge on Oct. 2, avoiding a felony conviction, jail time and registering as a sex offender.
Kevin J. Thomas plead guilty to fourth-degree sexual assault, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to one-year of probation. Thomas originally was charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child, a Class B felony, which is punishable by up to 60 years imprisonment.
After a night of heavy drinking, Thomas touched a 9-year-old boy’s bottom. Because of his state of inebriation, Thomas claims he had confused the boy with his wife.
“He was horrified when he realized what had happened,” Public Defender Travis Schwantes said.
Schwantes said he lost sleep the night before the plea hearing because he felt he could have had the case acquitted at jury trial, possibly avoiding any criminal conviction for his client.
“All along we thought this shouldn’t have been charged,” Schwantes said.
However, Schwantes said the risk of losing at jury trial — which at the minimum would have resulted in probation, a felony conviction and a life-time sex offender registration — were too great.
Williams Bay Police Officer Daniel Lauderdale also didn’t believe they reached the level of a criminal offense and wrote so in his report, and, according to court documents, would testify to that fact.
“The lead investigator said he didn’t believe it raised to the level of a criminal offense,” Schwantes said.
A social worker with the department of health and human services also didn’t believe that charges should be filed. However, the state did charge Thomas.
“Professionals can have different views on how a case should proceed,” Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube said. “In the rare case like this, it makes it difficult for the state to proceed, and my goal was to safeguard the community. We resolved it in a way that can provide some level of community protection with the facts that we had.”
A week before the trial, the state offered the agreement that his client eventually accepted.
“To be successful in front of a jury we all should have the same opinion,” Grube said.
Schwantes said his client will spend one year under sex offender probation, which is more stringent than regular probation. If he violates the terms of his probation, he will serve a nine-month jail sentence with work-release privileges.
“I’m confident Mr. Thomas will be able to do well, he has been in counseling a long-time,” he said.
Schwantes said he wasn’t happy with the resolution of the case, and he didn’t think the state was happy either.
“I wouldn’t disagree,” Grube said.

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Recent Crime
Woman sentenced in underage-sex case
October 10, 2013
ELKHORN A 37-year-old woman who had sex with two 15-year-old boys last September in her Sharon apartment will spend the next three years on probation. Rachael A. McCormick, now 38 and of East Troy, was also sentenced to six months in jail with work-release privileges, and she will have to register as a sex offender for the next 15 years. McCormick was initially charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 16, Class C felonies each punishable by 40 years imprisonment. However, through a plea agreement, the charges were reduced to two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and two felony charges of exposing a child to harmful materials, both Class I felonies that are punishable by up to 3 1/2 years imprisonment each.
Man gets five years for child sex assault
October 03, 2013

ELKHORN — The father of six children was sentenced to five years in prison after he had sex with a 13-year-old girl in the summer of 2012.
Ricky Cervantes, 29, Pell Lake, was also sentenced Sept. 26 to 10 years of extended supervision as part of plea agreement.
During the brief hearing, emotions ran high on both sides of the courtroom. Cervantes’ wife, who will be left raising six children without her husband, was sobbing as her husband apologized for having sex with a child.
On the other side of the courtroom, the victim’s mother shed tears as she talked about the case.
“I just want you to know you ruined my daughter’s life,” the victim’s mother told Cervantes during the hearing.
The mother said Cervantes took advantage of a young girl.
“It makes me sick,” the woman added. “I hope he realizes what he has done.”
The victim’s father simply told Cervantes that he wanted justice, and that Cervantes wouldn’t want an older man taking advantage of his children.
“I know he has sisters and daughters, and if someone had done that to his sister or daughter what would he want done?” the father asked. “The same thing I want — justice.”
Prior to the sentencing, Cervantes reached an agreement with prosecutors on the length of sentence. Cervantes agreed to a prison term even though a Presentence Investigation (PSI) recommended probation.
A PSI is a report written by the Department of Corrections (DOC) that reviews the crime and recommends a sentence to the judge.
Before accepting the plea agreement, Judge David Reddy indicated he may not have followed the DOC’s recommendation for probation.
“I thought the recommendation by the presentence investigator was rather light,” Reddy said.
During his allocution, Cervantes apologized for his actions and admitted guilt.
“I was confused about my feelings for her,” Cervantes said. “I told myself that I didn’t know why it happened.”
He said he is ashamed of his actions.
“I was horrified about what I had done. I was horrified that I was sexually attracted to her,” Cervantes said. “I feel such crushing shame to admit it.”
However, Cervantes said he believes it is necessary for him to admit to his wrongdoing.
“If I don’t admit it I will hurt everyone again, even myself,” he said. “I have hurt many people. I have hurt her for the rest of her life.”
After Cervantes spoke, Reddy told him he also violated the girl’s trust.
“The reason why you committed these vicious crimes is because of your deviances,” he said.


Walworth man accused of breaking jaw
September 26, 2013

A 33-year-old Walworth man allegedly broke another man’s jaw on June 9 at a tavern in Lake Como.
Shaun E. Hillary, 104 Webber St. Apt. 6B, has been charged with substantial battery, and, if convicted, faces up to 3 1/2 years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines.

Heroin dealers' probation revoked
September 26, 2013

A convicted heroin dealer’s probation was revoked after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of battery by a prisoner and misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.
Michael J. Fischer, 34, was convicted in 2012 for selling heroin, and was sentenced to five years of probation and one-year in jail with work-release privileges.

Delavan man faces bail jumping charges
September 26, 2013

A 43-year-old Delavan man, who is accused of strangling a woman and punching the family dog, faces more felony charges after he allegedly sent text messages to the woman after he posted bond.
Monty M. Contreras faces two counts of felony bail jumping and a felony charge of strangulation, as a repeater. If convicted of the felony charges, Contreras faces up to 22 years imprisonment and $30,000 in fines. ...subscribers>>

Man faces cocaine charge
September 26, 2013

A 64-year-old Fontana man faces a felony charge of possession of cocaine as a second or subsequent offense.
If convicted, Alois Hartmann, 866 Sauganash Drive, faces up to 3 1/2 years imprisonment and $10,000 fines. ...subscribers>>

Man allegedly stole check from church's collection plate
September 26, 2013

A 41-year-old man allegedly used the banking information from a check he took out of a church’s collection plate to pay for his AT&T bill.
Chateau K. Stokes, 1304 Birchwood St., Delavan, faces two felony counts of identity theft for financial gain.
If convicted, Stokes faces up to 12 years imprisonment and $20,000 in fines. ...subscribers>>

Walworth man pleads guilty to sexual assault
September 26, 2013

An 18-year-old Walworth man pleaded guilty Sept. 6 to a felony charge of sexual assault of a child, under the age of 16.
When Aaron M. Mitchell, 267 Fox Lane, is sentenced Nov. 4 he faces up to 40 years imprisonment and $100,000 in fines. ...subscribers>>

Man faces OWI, heroin charge
September 26, 2013

A 62-year-old Lake Geneva man was arrested Aug. 28 for allegedly possessing heroin and drunken driving.
Patrick J. Searles, 1109 W. Main St., has been charged with possession of a narcotic drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.
If convicted of the felony charge, Searles faces up to 3 1/2 years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines. ...subscribers>>

Elkhorn woman faces drug charges
September 26, 2013

A 33-year-old woman was arrested in Lake Geneva for allegedly selling Xanax.
Dawn M. Pfister of Elkhorn has been charged with felony possession with intent to deliver a schedule IV drug.
If convicted of the felony, she faces up to six years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines. ...subscribers>>

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