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Sex-assault case expands to include child porn charge

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Frank Schultz
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

JANESVILLE—A man charged in February with sexually assaulting a teen girl is now charged with possession of child pornography for a photo that allegedly depicts the same girl.

Wade A. Hallett, 52, of 7011 N. Williams Road, also is charged with violating a domestic abuse injunction for sending a letter to his wife in which he expresses his love and asks for forgiveness, according to the criminal complaint.

Hallett was due in court Tuesday morning to make his initial appearances in the new cases.

Investigators found Hallett's phone under a tree near the property line of his rural home, along with a laptop computer, according to the complaint.

The photo of the unclothed girl in a “lewd” pose in front of a mirror was found on the phone and had been sent as a message to Hallett, according to the complaint.

Hallett gave the letter, in a sealed envelope, to his defense attorney with instructions to deliver it to Robert Hill, who has power of attorney for Hallett, according to the complaint.

Defense attorney Miguel Michel did not know what was in the envelope, and he delivered it to Hill, who delivered it to Hallett's wife, according to the complaint.

The letter contained instructions for Hill to burn the letter after the wife had read it, according to the complaint, but he hadn't burned it by the time a detective reached him.

The wife, who has filed for divorce, refused to read the letter and reported the incident, leading to an investigation.

In the original case, Hallett is charged with four felony counts involving sex with a teenage girl he knows.

Hallett is a former captain in the U.S. Army and former state campaign coordinator for Rick Santorum for President in 2015, according to his LinkedIn profile. Hallett also was election board chairman for the Rock County Republican Party in 2016.

The original case was assigned to Judge John Wood, but Hallett filed for a substitution.

Judge James Daley said he recused himself because he was Hallett's commanding officer in the National Guard years ago. Judge Michael Haakenson recused himself because he had handled a guardian-ad-litem case involving Hallett.

Daley, as chief judge of the judicial district, then appointed Judge Alan Bates.

The new cases are assigned to Wood.

In court Wednesday, Hallett's attorney, Michael Murphy, said the attorney-client relationship had broken down, so he can't effectively represent Hallett.

Hallett had petitioned to get a public defender paid for by the state, but Hallett was declared not legally indigent.

Bates agreed to allow Murphy to step aside and arranged to get Hallett's financial information to decide if Bates would assign an attorney while Hallett's assets are tied up in divorce proceedings or whether Hallett must hire an attorney on his own.

Murphy had filed a motion for a special prosecutor in the case. Deputy District Attorney Perry Folts told Bates he would respond to that motion soon.

The motion states the girl Hallett is accused of assaulting reported a sexual assault by a 21-year-old man in spring 2016, but the district attorney's office declined to prosecute.

The motion indicates a special prosecutor is needed because members of the district attorney's office could be called to testify.

Murphy also filed an affidavit stating the girl made similar allegations against Hallett in the summer of 2016 and later recanted.



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