Nine words into her statement to the judge, the teenage girl was in tears.
She spoke Wednesday morning as the victim in the case, but she asked Walworth County Judge Phillip Koss to show leniency for the defendants.
Nicole and Scott Nosek, formerly of Elkhorn but now of West Allis, pleaded guilty in July to their roles in keeping and allowing, respectively, a place of prostitution for years—sometimes when the girl was in the same place, too.
Still, the girl tearfully asked Koss not to send Scott, who was sentenced first, to jail.
“When I was away from them, I fell into, like, this really deep depression—even worse than it was before,” the girl said. “And I don’t want to fall into that hole again.”
Koss decided the Noseks each will serve three-month jail sentences, although they will have work release and the possibility of electronic monitoring from home. Koss also sentenced them to three years of probation.
All sides agreed on the probation terms. District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld said he would have asked for prison sentences had the girl not made her request.
A charge of party to causing mental harm to a child was dismissed and read into the record for Nicole and Scott.
Nicole, 39, also pleaded guilty to three counts of prostitution. Five others were dismissed and read in.
Koss ordered Nicole to pay $100 fines on each of the three counts, pointing out that she profited from the acts and should pay something, even if it’s “symbolic.”
Nicole charged about $50, and some of her male customers saw her at least once a week, according to the criminal complaint.
Scott, 45, told police that was the couple’s main source of income for a while. At times, he said, he was “lazy” and OK with government benefits.
He told Koss on Wednesday he has changed and is close to securing full-time employment.
Nicole’s lawyer, Christopher Kuehn, said he considered his client a victim, not a perpetrator. The men took advantage of her, he said, pointing to her physical and mental health problems.
Lawyers for both defendants—Ashley Renz represented Scott—mentioned media coverage of the case and said that was also a form of punishment.
“They can’t come back here (to Elkhorn),” Kuehn said.
Elkhorn police first discovered the case when they investigated a fire and spoke to the girl, who said Nicole had sex with strangers for money, according to the complaint.
The girl, who reportedly struggled with behavioral and mental health problems, told police one of Nicole’s clients asked if the girl could join them.
This detail caught Koss’ attention.
“Has there been an investigation into the solicitation of the second-degree sexual assault of that child? I mean, that’s what that was,” Koss said to Wiedenfeld.
Wiedenfeld said as far as he knew, the man who made that request was not specifically identified.
At this moment, Nicole began to speak, but Kuehn stopped her.
“My recollection of the reports is that, they … I don’t know that they were open about that actually occurring, with law enforcement,” Wiedenfeld said.
Scott told Koss when he found out about the request, he “completely went nuts.” Koss later said that’s how he should have reacted.
“I’m not supposed to say, ‘Thank you for not robbing banks,’” Koss said.
After Scott’s sentencing but before Nicole’s, the girl had a chance to speak again. She said she understood the jail sentence and thought it could be a good lesson.
But too much jail time for the Noseks would be hard on her, she said.
“There were days I just wanted to give up because I never thought I’d see them again,” the girl said. “Now … I feel great. I’m actually happy now.”