Former deputy ordered to stand trial

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Saturday, January 23, 2010
— A young woman testified Friday that a former Rock County sheriff’s deputy—a man she looked to as a father figure—sexually assaulted her at a Halloween party last fall.

The 18-year-old cried at one point in her testimony in Rock County Court. The tears came as she described intimate details of her allegations of what Steven L. Stenulson did to her that night.

Stenulson, 39, of 1934 Liberty Lane, Janesville, has denied the allegations. He is charged with second-degree sexual assault, which involves sexual contact with someone not capable of giving consent or who is under the influence of alcohol.

The maximum penalty is 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Court Commissioner Stephen Meyer ruled at the preliminary hearing that Stenulson probably committed a felony and bound him over for trial.

Stenulson resigned as a sheriff’s deputy Nov. 18, 2009.

The woman was the only person to testify Friday. She said she awoke in an upstairs bedroom at the party to find Stenulson lying on a mattress with her, his hand under her clothes, touching her “inappropriately.”

The woman said her boyfriend is the son of Stenulson’s girlfriend, and the couple were like a second set of parents for her.

Stenulson flirted with her several times at the party at 518 College St. in Milton, she said.

Stenulson asked her if she was dressed as a naughty pirate and at one point slapped her on the bottom, the woman testified.

The woman said she was drinking beer and vomited in the bathroom, but she said that was because she had eaten too much. She went upstairs after vomiting and fell asleep, she said.

Sometime late on Oct. 31 or early Nov. 1, she awoke to Stenulson asking her questions, but she soon fell asleep again, she said.

The second time she awoke, Stenulson was lying next to her and molesting her, she said.

Stenulson sat quietly throughout the hearing, speaking only in a whisper to his lawyer and watching the woman testify.

At one point, defense attorney Jack Hoag asked the woman to draw a diagram of the room she slept in and the stairs leading to it. After the hearing, he asked for a transcript of the woman’s testimony.

The woman said she remembered the details of the assault even

though she was intoxicated.

She said Stenulson repeatedly asked her questions during the assault, including whether she liked what he was doing to her.

“I just kept telling him, ‘No,’” she said. “At one point, I said, ‘You need to get off of me.’”

Hoag asked repeated questions about the events of that night. She could not recall how many beers she drank.

Hoag asked about the time of various events. She said she didn’t know because she wasn’t checking a clock.

Hoag pointed out that the woman had said she remembered the events perfectly but could not recall certain details when he asked her about them.

The woman was firm, however, on the details of what was happening as she awoke with Stenulson beside her.

Prosecutor Corey Stephan objected to several of Hoag’s questions. At one point, Meyer allowed Hoag’s question about a conversation between the woman and another woman at the party about someone “hitting on Steve.”

But Meyer instructed the woman not to respond to Hoag’s question about who was hitting on Stenulson, after Stephan objected on the grounds of relevance.

An arraignment and pretrial conference are scheduled for 2 p.m. March 10 before Judge James Daley.

Last updated: 12:35 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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