Whitewater teen pleads not guilty to sexual assaults at Christian school

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staff, Gazette
Thursday, April 18, 2013

— A Whitewater teen pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he sexually assaulted three young children multiple times, one of them at a small school he used to attend.

Samuel Shelton, 18, of W7725 Kettle Moraine Drive, was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Walworth County Court on three charges of repeated sexual assault of a child.

He is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl at the Kettle Moraine Baptist Academy, according to court documents filed in February.

The assaults happened multiple times each week between spring 2012 and January 2013, according to a criminal complaint.

Prosecutors this week added two more counts of repeated sexual assault of young children.

Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube declined to say if those children were related to Kettle Moraine Baptist Academy.

The academy is a Christian elementary, middle and high school founded in 1993 by the Kettle Moraine Baptist Church, 505 S. Wisconsin St., Whitewater, according to its website.

Shelton was one of the school's 35 students, Administrator John Swaffer said. When the alleged assaults came to light, Swaffer said, Shelton's parents took him out of the school.

Swaffer said staff members told law enforcement about the assaults as soon as they became aware of them.

"It was our duty as school officials to report what came to our knowledge," Swaffer said.

Asked if school administration had informed parents of the allegations against Shelton, Swaffer said: "Necessary information was given to our family and our church body so that folks would be aware of what they needed to."

Although his competency was not raised as an issue at Wednesday's hearing, a court record indicates Shelton has "significant mental disabilities."

Shelton's address in court records matches that of Camp Joy, a Baptist youth camp on the northeast shore of Whitewater Lake.

One condition of Shelton's bond, set in January, was that he not have any contact with Camp Joy.

Camp Director Scott Hatchett said Shelton did not work at Camp Joy, but he declined to say what Shelton's relationship is with the camp.

"He does not live here, and he had not been employed here," Hatchett said.

Swaffer said that while laws classify some offenses as worse than others, "God's word tells us that all of our sins are just as condemning before His presence."

The important message, Swaffer said, is that "sin can be forgiven through Christ. There's a peace that comes through that."

Shelton was scheduled to be back in court May 30.

Last updated: 10:24 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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