Walworth County sex assault suspect dead

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staff, Gazette
Wednesday, June 12, 2013

— A former Big Brothers president charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting two boys he mentored was found dead June 5, days before prosecutors planned to introduce new evidence retrieved from his computer.

Walworth County Coroner John Griebel confirmed Rodney Meiller, 52, was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in a Whitewater-area state park.

Meiller had faced three charges of repeated sexual assault of two boys, ages 11 and 14.

Griebel said Tuesday an autopsy confirmed Meiller died of the gunshot wound and said the cause of death was ruled a suicide. He said a toxicology report was ordered but will take four to six weeks to process.

Walworth County Judge James Carlson dismissed the case Tuesday at what was scheduled as a pretrial hearing for Meiller. The district attorney's office had planned to introduce new evidence, according to a May 13 motion filed by Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube.

The state wanted to introduce sexually explicit images of young boys found on Meiller's computer and the recent Internet history of the computer, according to the motion.

Meiller's death ended the case.

"The state can no longer proceed," Grube said in the hearing Tuesday.

Jenelle Glasbrenner, Meiller's defense attorney, had filed several pretrial motions, including one to bar evidence concerning the defendant's prior conduct.

Meiller was the former president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rock, Walworth and Jefferson counties and was on the organization's board of directors from 2008 to 2009. The program cut ties with Meiller after the 11-year-old boy and his mother in June 2012 reported the allegations to the Lake Geneva Police Department.

According to the original criminal complaint, Meiller was accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy he met through the program between July 1, 2011, and June 7, 2012, at the Lake Geneva YMCA and in Meiller's former residence in the town of Lafayette.

The 14-year-old boy later came forward, accusing Meiller of multiple incidents of sexual assault at Meiller's residence between Jan. 1, 2004, and the end of summer 2010.

Meiller plead not guilty to all charges Aug. 30, 2012.

Private funeral services were being arranged by Haase-Lockwood & Associates Funeral Homes & Crematory in Elkhorn.

Last updated: 7:53 am Monday, July 29, 2013

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