Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Man assaults woman at Inspiration Ministries
Suspect a registered sex offender

by Rob Ireland

May 26, 2011

Town of Walworth — A registered sex offender walked on to a Christian campus for disabled adults and allegedly fondled an elderly, wheelchair-bound resident.

Bobby L. Byers, 45, who was convicted in 1989 of second-degree sexual assault and has numerous additional misdemeanor convictions for lewd and lascivious behavior, now faces misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree sexual assault and disorderly conduct in relation to the incident. Both charges have been elevated to repeater status.

An Inspiration Ministries employee told police she saw the man hugging a physically-disabled 73-year-old woman, according to the criminal complaint.

Police arrived on the scene and identified the man as Byers. District Attorney Phillip Koss said Byers doesn’t have family at Inspiration Ministries, but told law enforcement he was there to see a friend.

The victim told police Byers pushed her wheelchair inside of the building and into the family room where he allegedly inappropriately touched her while hugging her.

According to the victim, when Byers hugged her, he told her he loved her, but the woman had never met Byers before.

Byers also faces two felony charges for allegedly failing to provide information to the sex offender registry.

If convicted of all counts, he faces up to 16 years imprisonment. Byers is being held in the Walworth County Jail in lieu of a $20,000 cash bond.

Koss said Tuesday that Byers may face additional prison time after the June 3 preliminary hearing because the felony counts could be elevated to repeater status.

Police were called to Inspiration Ministries May 10 after receiving a report of a suspicious person who was on the campus.

Another resident, who is 69-years-old, told police she spoke to Byers outside of the building. That resident told police Byers made sexually inappropriate comments to her, but she just pretended like it didn’t happen.

When Byers was interviewed by police, he admitted to making a sexual comment to the woman and hugging the other woman, according to the criminal complaint.

During the hug with the other resident, Byers said he placed his hand on her upper left thigh, according to the criminal complaint.

Long criminal history

On Nov. 18, 1989, Byers was convicted of second-degree sexual assault, escape risk and criminal trespass to a dwelling. At that time Byers was 24-years-old and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

While incarcerated, Byers was charged and convicted of disorderly conduct in Racine County.

He was released on parole July 15, 1997 and was arrested the next day for misdemeanor lewd and lascivious behavior, as a repeater. He was convicted of the misdemeanor charge and his parole was revoked.

He returned to prison and was released Jan. 9, 2001.Three weeks later he was arrested for criminal trespassing and while in custody at the Walworth County Jail he was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior.

Byers returned to prison after convictions for the misdemeanor charges and a parole revocation. He was released from state custody Feb. 5, 2008, but was arrested Feb. 21, 2008 on a probation hold and returned to prison until March 28, 2009.

On Nov. 6, 2009 Byers was again arrested and was eventually convicted of two misdemeanors — resisting or obstructing and officer and lewd and lascivious behavior for exposure.

In that case, Byers twice exposed himself at the Walworth County Government Center to a female employee. Police eventually located Byers at the Elkhorn Public Library, but he resisted arrest.

In a separate disorderly conduct case, on Oct. 31, 2009, Byers went to the Elkhorn Public Library and harassed a female employee. While wearing sweat pants, Byers stood in a manner that displayed his erection to the woman.

He was sentenced to 18 months in jail. Although he received an 18 month sentence, he was eligible for good-time release, which reduced his sentence by one-fourth.