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Angela Major 

Steve Heyerdahl with Degarmo Plumbing works in a hole deep below East Court Street on Monday, June 10, 2019, in Janesville.


Angela Major 

Above and below, Steve Heyerdahl with DeGarmo Plumbing works below East Court Street in Janesville to install a piece of equipment for fire protection sprinklers in the Rock County Courthouse on Monday. A portion of the street from Parker Place to Wisconsin Street will be blocked off through Friday as work continues.


Crime
Michigan man who lured local girl into sex sentenced to prison

JANESVILLE

A sexual predator from Michigan lured an Evansville girl into a sexual relationship in 2017.

He took his victim to dinner and movies and showed her “limitless affection,” and he slowly sexualized their relationship, Judge Michael Haakenson said as he passed the man’s sentence Monday.

He had sex with her repeatedly, according to a criminal complaint, and he got her to send him intimate photos and videos of herself.

As part of a plea agreement, charges of child sexual assault were dismissed, but Bryan S. Kind was convicted of three counts of possessing child pornography—the images on his phone.

“This is a case that should be known to parents because this is the case that shows how dangerous social media can be to those underage people who are not yet fully formed in the brain,” Assistant District Attorney Rich Sullivan said.

Sullivan noted research that says brains are not fully developed until people are in their mid-20s.

Kind, now 33, was 31 when he lured the girl when she was 15 and 16, according to criminal complaints.

He was arrested in 2017 after a Janesville hotel worker saw him with the victim in the hotel whirlpool.

Sullivan quoted Kind as defending what he did, saying he met the girl online, and “I thought it would be nice that she had someone to talk to.”

Kind said he then developed feelings for her but didn’t have sex until they had been talking for a year.

He thought she was 16 when they first had sex, and in Michigan the age of consent is 16, Sullivan said.

Sullivan dismissed that explanation, saying Kind is a manipulator. He noted Kind was accused of luring even younger girls in Maryland and Ohio.

Kind’s phone contained 46 “provocative” images of the child in Ohio, Sullivan said.

It contained dozens of similar images and nine videos of the Evansville girl.

Sullivan said the plea agreement spared the victim from having to testify about intimate details in court.

The emotional toll can be great, Sullivan said, telling of victims who have run from his office, vomited or defecated at the prospect of testifying.

“Some people would call that catharsis. I will tell you that in my 11 years doing these cases, it’s actually cruel,” Sullivan said.

Haakenson referred to reports that Kind was luring another Wisconsin girl at the same time as the local case.

The Ohio and Maryland offenses were going on at the same time in 2015, Haakenson said, and he found that two-faced behavior troubling.

Pro Publica reported that police in Baltimore County, Maryland, investigated Kind for rape of a 13-year-old girl, closing its case a month before he was arrested in Janesville.

Janesville investigators found images of that girl still on Kind’s phone, Sullivan said.

Kind’s Baltimore County case apparently fell through the cracks and was never charged.

Sullivan and Isaacson had recommended four years in prison plus six years of supervision.

Haakenson said he gave great weight to the attorneys’ recommendation, but he said he was “troubled” by what he learned about Kind.

Haakenson imposed a harsher sentence, six years in prison and another six years of extended supervision.

Isaacson said Kind is intelligent, has a supportive family and skills that will help him get a good job coming out of prison, all factors that will help him keep from doing this again.

Kind gave a brief, articulate apology. He said he needed to hear Sullivan’s criticisms and that he is sorry, embarrassed and ashamed.

Sullivan said Kind has 12 previous convictions, including for drugs, identity theft, larceny and writing bad checks.

Haakenson said those cases were mostly or all related to an opiate addiction in Kind’s 20s.

Kind was credited for the 698 days he has spent in the Rock County Jail. Haakenson ordered that he not be eligible for prison programs that could shorten his sentence.

Kind will be on the Wisconsin sexual offender registry for the rest of his life.

Sullivan said his victim also will suffer for the rest of her life: “You can’t unring the bell. You can’t go back and give her her innocence back. She is now, forever, on a different trajectory than she would have been if the defendant had not chosen to come down to Wisconsin to manipulate this young girl.”


Obituaries and death notices for June 11, 2019

Marjorie A. Bruhn

Randy H. Campbell

Marilyn Marie Fischer

James C. Hulbert

Gary K. Keller

Charalotte Knudson

Ronald E. Lexa

Jerry Lee McFarlane

Thomas Dwight Newcomer

Lena A. Wallace

Gary A. Wright


HOGP 

This photo released by the New York City Fire Department shows damage caused by a helicopter crash, south of Central Park in New York on Monday, June 10, 2019. The crash that killed the pilot and occurred near Times Square and Trump Tower shook the 750-foot (229-meter) AXA Equitable building sparked a fire and forced office workers to flee on elevators and down stairs, witnesses and officials said. (FDNY via AP)


Government
top story
Janesville City Council tables possible limits to public comment

JANESVILLE

Public speakers at Janesville City Council meetings still can discuss any number of topics during public comment even if they aren’t on the agenda—at least for now.

The council narrowly tabled a proposal Monday that would have limited public comments to items that are on that night’s agenda. The motion to postpone the vote indefinitely passed 4-3, with Paul Benson, Doug Marklein and Paul Williams opposing the idea.

Tom Wolfe, who cosponsored the proposed changes to public comment, made the motion to table. Sue Conley seconded it. Wolfe wanted the council to schedule a study session before Sept. 30 to further discuss the issue.

Wolfe told The Gazette last week that although he cosponsored the idea, he had not taken a position yet.

Getting the idea on the agenda was the only way to talk with the council and the only way to schedule a study session, he said Monday.

Because Wolfe’s motion effectively postponed the measure, the council was legally barred from talking about it Monday night. That quickly ended discussion of the topic after six people spoke in favor of leaving the ordinance as is.

Last week, Wolfe and Rich Gruber, the proposal’s other cosponsor, said that even if public comment changed, residents could contact the council via phone or email. A phone number and email address for each council member is listed on the city’s website.

Several of Monday’s speakers questioned if emails and phone calls were sufficient.

Tom Brien, a former council member, said talking publicly about something not on the agenda makes speakers feel as if they’re being heard.

Aaron Aegerter said public comment increases accountability because the meeting is recorded and broadcast live on JATV.

Harry Paulsen said public comment is the only way to simultaneously inform the council and other residents about a specific issue.

Jackie Wood said any restrictions on public comment would decrease transparency and add a layer of bureaucracy to council meetings. The council could consider modifying public comment so people had fewer minutes to speak or could speak only once per month, she said.

It’s uncertain how or if the council will change public comment when it returns to the agenda after the study session.

Jim Farrell said Monday he doubted a study session would change his belief that public comment needs to be restricted.

Benson said he wants to keep public comment the way it is. His vote Monday was to give an answer to those who came to the meeting and shared their thoughts.

Wolfe said he hoped the study session would “dive deeper” on public comment law.

Currently, the council is restricted from responding to or asking questions of public comment speakers, but perhaps there is a way to legally modify public comment so more interaction is allowed, he said.


Chris Young 

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) drives to the net between Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) and center Marc Gasol (33) during first-half basketball action in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, Monday, June 10, 2019. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)


Education
Milton School Board chooses not to grant merit pay for 19 teachers

MILTON

Nineteen teachers in the Milton School District will not receive pay increases for positive evaluations this year after a school board decision Monday.

To give those teachers pay increases, the board would have had to approve adjusting the district’s compensation model to extend its limit for merit pay based on evaluations. The 19 teachers affected will hit the limit next school year.

Board members Tom Westrick, Joe Martin, Karen Hall, Mike Pierce and Brian Kvapil voted against adjusting the model but said they want to revisit it next year before teacher contracts are issued.

The Milton School District has a compensation model, called a matrix, that dictates pay increases for teachers based on successful evaluations and professional development.

The district has used the matrix since the 2016-17 school year and was created to better retain staff.

Teachers advance a step in the matrix each year they have a positive evaluation. Each step indicates a pay raise ranging from $500 to $2,000.

Teachers who reach the final step no longer have any monetary incentive for a successful evaluation.

The 2019-20 school year is the first year the district will have teachers who reached the end of the matrix.

Board member Diamond McKenna said multiple staff members and representatives from the teachers union asked her and the board to find a way to compensate the teachers.

Superintendent Tim Schigur and the administrative team recommended the board come up with a flat dollar amount to give the 19 teachers, who make up about 7% of the teaching staff.

Westrick said these concerns were brought to the human resources committee too late for them to make a decision considering teacher contracts are already signed for next year.

That concern was echoed by Hall, Kvapil and Pierce.

The 19 teachers will receive the 2.44% base wage increase the board approved after negotiations with the union. State law does not allow the district to negotiate benefits like health care or merit pay after the passage of Act 10 in 2011.

In a human resources committee meeting last week, Westrick said the board approved giving the teachers the maximum base wage increase and did not make any changes to benefits, so he thought it was fair not to make any changes to merit pay based on evaluations this year.

Teachers have known about the compensation model for three years and should have known they would be reaching the end of their evaluation bonuses, Westrick said.

Many people don’t look ahead in the system until they are affected, McKenna said.

McKenna said she thought the board owed it to staff members to look into the budgetary impact of giving merit pay to the 19 teachers.