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Former Rock County sheriff's deputy charged with 'sex crimes' against children

JANESVILLE

Rock County prosecutors say a former Rock County Sheriff’s Office deputy faces charges that he gave illegal drugs to three boys and repeatedly sexually assaulted them for several years, mostly prior to the time he worked in the sheriff’s office.

In separate alerts, the state Department of Criminal Investigation and the Rock County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that authorities arrested former Milton resident Gary A. Huber, 34, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Authorities say the former deputy and U.S. Marine abruptly quit his job with the sheriff’s office in July after allegations surfaced that he sexually assaulted several boys between 2010 and 2016.

Authorities said Huber had been hired by the sheriff’s department in August 2016 and quit July 1.

On Monday police arrested Huber in Fort Wayne on suspicion of 10 counts of “various sex crimes against children” ranging in age from 8 to 15. Authorities believe the crimes occurred in Janesville and Milton.

Huber faces one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child younger than 13, two counts of causing a child under 13 to view or listen to sex acts, and three counts of indecent exposure, according to a criminal complaint filed this week in the Rock County District Attorney’s Office.

Authorities say he’ll likely be extradited to Rock County for an initial hearing next week.

According to the criminal complaint, witnesses told authorities in July that three males who know Huber said on several occasions he gave them opioid pills, fentanyl patches and marijuana and repeatedly sexually assaulted them on multiple occasions between May 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2016.

The boys ranged in ages from 8 to 15 during the six-year period when the abuses are thought to have occurred, according to the complaint.

The allegations include that Huber showed them pornography, fondled them and, during one alleged incident in 2016, sexually assaulted the same male “at least three times” while Huber and the male sat in a parked pickup truck in the parking lot of a church in Janesville.

At the time of those alleged assaults, the male said he was “14 or 15 years old.” The male claims that by then, Huber had sold or given him fentanyl pain patches and other opioid drugs “over 30 times,” according to the complaint.

The complaint is based on information gathered by the DCI, the sheriff’s office, and the Janesville and Milton police departments.

Authorities said the sex crime allegations precede Huber’s time as a sheriff’s deputy in Rock County.

However, some of the allegations appear to overlap a four-month-long period between when Huber was hired by the sheriff’s office in the summer of 2016 and the end of December 2016, when he was employed at the sheriff’s office, according to a timeline laid out in the complaint.

It’s not clear if Huber had been involved in local law enforcement in any capacity prior to his work at the Rock County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said in a statement that because the DCI is handling the bulk of the investigation, the sheriff’s office will have no further comment or details to report.

A witness said the scope and details of some of the alleged sex crimes came to light during a family reunion picnic this past summer—almost five years after the incidents were thought to have occurred.

The criminal complaint indicates that local police and the DCI began looking into the situation at the beginning of July after a witness spoke to Janesville police officials.

The sheriff’s office says it was made aware of “allegations of criminal behavior” against Huber after a complaint to the sheriff’s office July 1 but that Huber refused to report to work and resigned the same day that police tried to contact him about some of the allegations.

According to the complaint, Huber has relatives in Fort Wayne. It’s not clear whether he moved to Indiana after he resigned from the force this summer.

According to witness statements to investigators, Huber is a military veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and that he had lived in Janesville off and on from 2010 to 2021.

Prior to the period when Huber was alleged to have sexually assaulted and fondled the boys, witnesses said Huber had for a time been confined to a wheelchair due to a combat injury.

For a period of time, Huber lived in a Janesville residence that belonged to family members of one of the boys Huber is alleged to have assaulted, fondled, supplied drugs and shown pornographic films on computers and an iPod.

One of the boys told investigators that Huber had warned him that if he told anyone about the incidents, people would shame him for being gay.


Scenes from the dress rehearsal for “BJSO Holiday Pops: The Nutcracker Ballet” at the Janesville Performing Arts on Wednesday evening, Dec. 15. “BJSO Holiday Pops: The Nutcracker Ballet” will premiere at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, at the Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St. Subsequent shows also are planned at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, and at 2 p.m. Dec. 18 and Sunday, Dec 19. Very few tickets remain. Admission is $35 for premium adult seating, $20 for regular adult seating, $10 for ages 5-13 and free for those ages 4 and younger. To purchase tickets, visit beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.


Scenes from the dress rehearsal for “BJSO Holiday Pops: The Nutcracker Ballet” at the Janesville Performing Arts on Wednesday evening, Dec. 15. “BJSO Holiday Pops: The Nutcracker Ballet” will premiere at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, at the Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St. Subsequent shows also are planned at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, and at 2 p.m. Dec. 18 and Sunday, Dec 19. Very few tickets remain. Admission is $35 for premium adult seating, $20 for regular adult seating, $10 for ages 5-13 and free for those ages 4 and younger. To purchase tickets, visit beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.


Local
Former Clinton Cougar helping in Kentucky tornado aftermath

CLINTON

Janeka Copeland was just about to finish her shift at the Graves County Jail in Mayfield, Kentucky, when she hear the tornado warnings Friday. She didn’t think much of it, having grown up in Clinton, where tornado warnings usually didn’t amount to much.

She made her way home, but soon thereafter heard the jail had collapsed and she was needed to help evacuate inmates.

Now her hometown of Clinton, is banding together to round up donations to send to Mayfield, Kentucky, after the deadly tornadoes that ravaged the city.

Copeland, 38, her husband, Brad, and sons, Evan, 13, and Avery, 7, are working with their church, His House Ministries, to help distribute relief items to tornado victims and are waiting for their next shipment from Clinton.

As of Tuesday, Clintonites were lugging donations to fill up a semi trailer sitting on Allen Street across from BOXCARS Pub & Grub. Owner Tim Pogorelski said people are invited to bring donations such as nonperishable food items, water, space heaters, blankets, batteries and flashlights.

“It’s Christmas time, so any stocking stuffers or anything people could give to the kids, would be appreciated,” Pogorelski said.

“We’ve already started running low on some items. Nonperishable food is the biggest one we are having trouble keeping in stock. There is just a huge need. There are so many people who don’t have anything,” Copeland said.

Donations can be dropped off at Clinton Kitchen, 239 Allen St., from 8 a.m-2 p.m., and at Emanuel Reformed Church, 319 East St. from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Pogorelski He said he and some friends sat down on Monday night to put up a Facebook post about the collection.

“And the next thing I know I got a 48-foot trailer sitting by the bar,” Pogorelski said, adding that he hopes volunteers will drive the semi truck down to Mayfield on Friday.

At least 70 people were killed and more than 100 have gone missing in the deadly tornado that struck Kentucky on Friday. A series of more than 30 tornadoes struck eight states over the weekend.

Copeland, who lives just outside Mayfield, is the day-shift supervisor at the Graves County Jail and was finishing up her shift at around 7 p.m. Friday. By 9 p.m. people were sending her messages asking if she was OK.

Around the same time her husband got a call from the chaplain for the Mayfield-area candle factory which collapsed, causing the deaths of eight people. The pastor asked for her husband to come help. Meanwhile, Copeland returned to the jail to help.

She said all the inmates were moved safely, with transportation arriving on scene within 30 minutes. She remained at the jail to help inmates get transported to other counties. She and her husband met back at home around 3 a.m.

“When we came back that night the power was out,” she said, but fortunately their home was intact. Their power returned a couple of days later.

Copeland estimated about half of the city’s residences were leveled and many of the its historic buildings were demolished. Much of the city is still without power.

“There is no count of how many residents have been displaced or how many total are confirmed dead,” she said. “Once I started driving and trying to get places to help, I started to realize how many people are without homes right now.”

Copeland and her family then began lending a hand at church.

“Every church that survived this tornado has turned into some kind of relief center. My church collected as many donations as possible,” she said.

Copeland said church volunteers at His House Ministries are making hot lunches and dinners, and volunteer drivers are filling up their vehicles to distribute meals to those in need. Volunteers also are also bringing in water and supplies and helping with cleanup.

Copeland said she was looking forward to the arrival of desperately needed supplies. She encouraged people to consider not only donating items to Mayfield, but to many other areas impacted by the tornadoes.

“So many small towns were hit,” she said. “We don’t want to see them fall through the cracks. We want to see them get the help and support they need,” she said.

Copeland is the daughter of Jim and Sherry Stilwell of Clinton where she attended Clinton High School and played on the basketball and volleyball teams. She graduated in 2001.

Copeland said those who wish to make monetary donations can mail checks to Mayfield Graves County Tornado Relief Fund, P.O. Box 9, Fancy Farm, KY 42039.


Coronavirus
top story
Some flu-associated hospitalizations reported in Rock County

With much of the attention from public health officials focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, it is easy to forget that influenza can have serious consequences for individuals. As flu circulates in Rock County and with decreased available hospital beds due to COVID-19, health officials urge people to get a flu vaccination.

Flu vaccines help to reduce the burden of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths on the health care system each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

So far this flu season there have been 10 suspected, probable, or confirmed cases of influenza-associated hospitalizations in Rock County, according to information from Rock County Public Health spokesperson Jessica Turner.

“This is higher than the total number of hospitalizations that we saw last flu season. Last flu season there were very few flu-related hospitalizations, which can probably be attributed to the stronger adherence to mask wearing and other precautions,” Turner said. “So far, the number of flu vaccines given statewide is lower than what we saw at this time last year.”

With flu season peaking in January or February, Turner said it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine.

“The recent increase in hospitalizations overall means it is especially important to do what we can to stay healthy and out of the hospital. Getting the flu vaccine is one way we can do that,” she said.

The numbers of those with the flu remains lower than nonpandemic years, but it has increased over last year on a state level, similar to the county trend.

Influenza activity continues to increase statewide. There were 483 cases of influenza reported in Wisconsin last week, according to the Virus Surveillance Report ending the week of Dec. 4 by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

As of the week ending Dec. 4, influenza vaccination coverage in Wisconsin was 6% lower than this time last year. The percentage who have received flu vaccinations so far this season is 33%.

People can get a flu shot onsite at pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS or through their healthcare providers. People can also find a flu shot by visiting vaccinefinder.org.

According to the CDC, flu activity is still low nationally, but CDC surveillance systems are detecting slow but steady increases in flu.

The state with the highest level of flu activity is New Mexico. Its presence is considered minimal in Wisconsin and Illinois.

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season, especially people at higher risk. This season, all flu vaccines are designed to protect against the four flu viruses that research indicates will be most common.


Obituaries and death notices for Dec. 16, 2021

Darlene H. Christopherson

Karen F. (Richardson) Dewey

Jerome S. “Jay” Jordan

Stanley S. Judd Jr.

Frank Kotlewsky

Jeremy D. Lawrence

Alfred H. “Al” Pinnow

David “Dave” Scott

Lynda R. Short

Raymond Spooner

JoAnn E. (Peterson) Wall


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