01STOCK_GAVEL

JANESVILLE

After a 15-year-old girl changed her story, prosecutors Monday dismissed sexual assault charges against the Clinton teen accused of sexually assaulting her.

Rock County Judge Barbara McCrory granted a request from Assistant District Attorney Scott Dirks to dismiss charges against Carson Loback, 17.

The girl’s account of the incident changed “so substantially” that pursuing the charges any further would have been inappropriate, Dirks said.

It’s rare for prosecutors to seek dismissal after filing serious criminal charges, but Dirks said he would have been unable to prove Loback had sexually assaulted the girl in a Clinton park Aug. 22.

Loback had been charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child under age 16 by use or threat of force or violence and second-degree sexual assault, both by use of a dangerous weapon, according to a criminal complaint.

The girl initially told police Loback asked to meet her at Herb Reffue Park in Clinton. She didn’t trust Loback and brought a knife for safety, according to the complaint.

She claimed that upon arrival, Loback grabbed the knife and proceeded to sexually assault her.

Dirks declined to specify what changed in the girl’s story that led him to reverse course. Eventually, her account mostly aligned with what Loback originally told police, he said.

Police did follow-up investigation that gave Dirks new information. He declined to provide details.

Investigations are not always complete before the district attorney’s office files charges. Dirks believes police handled the situation properly.

Dirks said prosecutors have 48 hours after an arrest to file charges or release the suspect.

“Given the information I had at the time and the time constraints that were involved and my concerns for public safety, I made the best decision I could under the circumstances,” Dirks said.

In court Monday, Dirks said the charges probably were “improperly filed” in retrospect.

Loback’s attorney, Faun Moses, said the 48-hour deadline to file charges is usually good because it prevents people from spending prolonged time in jail. In this case, it backfired and led to Loback spending five days in jail before his family could post the $5,000 bond.

The bond money will be returned to the family.

Moses plans to file paperwork to have Loback’s charges sealed or expunged from his record to prevent future public access.

“I think this is the best outcome. I wish he didn’t have to have already served the five days in jail,” Moses said. “It’s just very unfortunate. The whole situation is very unfortunate.”

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