The jury trial of a Boyceville man charged with sexually assaulting a boy under 10 and having child pornography on his computer will stay in Dunn County.
Ted Lopez’s three-day trial is set to begin Feb. 13.
Lopez, 41, is charged with 25 felonies: 17 counts of possessing child pornography, two counts of child sex exploitation, two counts of exposing a child to harmful material, repeated sexual assault of a child and three other child-related felonies.
In June 2016, a boy told Boyceville authorities Lopez had fondled him many times and had sexual contact with the boy about 20 times, according to a criminal complaint.
Boyceville police found a hard drive with over 3,000 explicit photos of children and teenagers in Lopez’s home after executing a search warrant in August 2016, according to the complaint.
Lopez showed another boy under the age of 10 child pornography in July 2016, according to the complaint.
Lopez fled the state after being released from the Dunn County Jail on a $55,000 cash bond in June 2017; the FBI found him in Staples, Minn., using the alias Tony Luzon in March 2018.
Lopez asked Judge Rod Smeltzer to move his trial outside Dunn County in a motion filed Jan. 28. Media coverage and Lopez’s Latin-American ethnicity “create a bias in the potential jury pool,” Lopez said in the handwritten motion.
Dunn County District Attorney Andrea Nodolf disagreed. Lopez gave no evidence that the pre-trial publicity was inflammatory, she said in a reply: “The mere fact that a case has been covered in the media is not a sufficient basis to justify a change of venue.”
After speaking with his attorney, Matthew Krische, at a hearing Tuesday, Lopez withdrew his request for a change of venue.
Lopez also turned down an offer of a new plea deal, Nodolf said at a hearing Tuesday. She made an amended offer after a jury convicted Lopez of six felony charges in December in a separate case.
Krische asked to delay the upcoming trial until after Lopez is sentenced in the separate case on March 29.
The sentence may help Lopez decide whether or not to accept a plea agreement, Krische argued.
The prosecution also did not tell him until Feb. 1 about an additional 160 emails found on Lopez’s computer, Krische said, asking for a delay so he could review the evidence.
The emails were available at the Menomonie Police Department for over a year, Nodolf and Menomonie police investigator Maloree Zassenhaus said Tuesday.
Smeltzer denied Krische’s request Tuesday to delay the trial, saying Krische could access the emails at the police department.
Smeltzer will also allow the testimony of Dr. Arne Graff of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in next week’s trial. Graff, who specializes in child abuse pediatrics, is expected to testify about the physical and emotional signs of child sex assault.
Prosecutors can also tell the jury about some of Lopez’s Wisconsin convictions, Smeltzer ruled Tuesday: possession of THC with intent to deliver in Barron County in 2005; possession of THC and resisting or obstructing an officer in Barron County in 2014; and operating while intoxicated-second offense in Dunn County in 2014.
The court is slated to call at least 70 potential jurors for the trial.