Woman says she awoke to find deputy assaulting her

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Stacy Vogel
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
— An 18-year-old woman told police she awoke from a nap at a Halloween party to find an off-duty Rock County sheriff’s deputy assaulting her, according to a criminal complaint.

The deputy, Steven L. Stenulson, is accused of assaulting the woman, whom he knows, early Sunday morning. He was arrested Monday on a charge of second-degree sexual assault and released Tuesday on a signature bond.

Second-degree sexual assault is a felony that involves sexual contact with someone not capable of giving consent or who is under the influence of alcohol.

According to the criminal complaint:

The woman and Stenulson were at a party at 518 College St., Milton. The woman became intoxicated and sick and went to an upstairs bedroom to sleep, she said.

She said she woke up to find Stenulson lying in her bed and touching her inappropriately under her clothes. She said he asked if she wanted to have sex, and she said “No.”

The woman and Stenulson then heard people coming up the stairs, and Stenulson quickly moved onto the room’s other bed, she said.

When the two people entered the room, the woman started crying, and Stenulson immediately left, they told police. The woman told them what happened and then called someone else and told her. That person called the police, the complaint says.

Stenulson denied that he assaulted the woman. He said he had been playing beer pong at the party and went to the bedroom to rest, the complaint says.

At first, he said he lay on the bed next to the one the woman was in. After questioning, he said he knelt on her bed to check on her.

The woman was taken to Mercy Hospital, where a nurse found lacerations and an abrasion on the woman’s genitals, the complaint says.

Blood tests taken during the investigation showed that both Stenulson and the woman had been drinking, Milton Police Chief Jerry Schuetz said.

The department expects to issue more citations because underage people were drinking at the party, Schuetz said.

Stenulson has been placed on administrative leave from the sheriff’s office pending an internal investigation, Chief Deputy Barbara Tillman said.

The office will look at the sexual assault charge and the charge that Stenulson was at a party that involved underage drinking, she said.

“(Attending an underage drinking party) would be considered a major violation of conduct, and we would certainly render discipline of a significant nature,” she said.

That discipline could range from suspension without pay to termination, she said.

If convicted of second-degree sexual assault, Stenulson could face up to 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. His next court appearance is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Last updated: 12:02 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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