Correction: The headline has been updated to reflect that Demond Dorsey was sentenced to 18 months in jail, not prison.
CHIPPEWA FALLS — An Illinois man who entered a hotel room in Lake Hallie in September 2017 and crawled into bed with a woman he didn’t know and sexually assaulted her will serve 18 months in jail after being convicted Tuesday.
Demond H. Dorsey, 35, of East St. Louis, pleaded no contest in Chippewa County Court on Tuesday to fourth-degree sexual assault and to criminal damage to property.
Judge Steve Cray ordered the jail sentence, along with the requirement that Dorsey register as a sex offender for 15 years. Dorsey was given jail credit for time already served. He also must pay $3,479 in restitution and court fees.
At a hearing last month, Dorsey was considering entering a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Dorsey had requested to represent himself in court and signed a form that he understood what was occurring. However, Dorsey told Cray that he suffers from schizophrenia. Cray ordered an examination by a psychologist.
“The resolution took into account the totality of the incident, but it also took into account the mental health issues he has,” Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell said.
Dorsey was originally charged with second-degree sexual assault of an unconscious victim. Newell said the plea deal holds Dorsey accountable and protects people from him in the future with the sex offender registration requirement.
Dorsey was arrested in Illinois in May 2018 and was extradited back to Wisconsin, where he was held in the Chippewa County Jail on a $10,000 cash bond.
According to the criminal complaint, the incident occurred on Sept. 24, 2017, at the Hampton Inn, 12707 30th Ave. A woman told authorities she was asleep in her room; when she woke up, Dorsey — who she didn’t know — was lying in bed with her and touching her below the waist.
Police interviewed Dorsey, who said he was a registered guest at the hotel, and he got a key card from the front desk for that room. When he entered the room, he said the victim and another woman were sleeping in beds. He admitted he crawled into bed with the unknown woman for purpose of sexual gratification.
Young athletes lined up alongside the walls of the school gymnasium as adults congregated in the stands, all while the band energized the crowd that gathered for a celebration of athletic and academic success.
McDonell Central Catholic High School held a pep assembly Thursday morning to highlight its students’ academic achievements and to send off a group of young men to a prestigious event.
The McDonell boys basketball team is going to compete in the WIAA state tournament for the fourth time in as many years — a feat many schools go decades without achieving once.
McDonell plays Sheboygan Area Lutheran at 9:05 a.m. Friday at the Kohl Center.
Many of the school staff had the audience of more than 200 singing classic songs such as “On Wisconsin” to help energize the crowd to give the basketball team a proper sendoff.
This state tournament run came after some adversity, having hired a new athletic director and head coach for the team after Archie Sherbinow, who did both, left last summer.
First-year athletic director Eric Gardow said Sherbinow left an outstanding legacy in the program and he is glad the team is continuing to see success after his departure.
“What Archie did at this school was amazing,” Gardow said. “You’re still seeing the extension of his body of work here and we’re really proud to not have let him down during this stretch. We’ve got a great coach, and I know he’s been supportive of how Archie coached the kids in previous years, so we’re just trying to keep things going as long as we can.”
In a show of unity, the McDonell middle and high schoolers lined each of the four sides of the basketball court in the closing minutes of the pep rally, with the players and coaches of the team shaking hands with their fans before they left for the state tournament in Madison.
Also included in the festivities were presentations of academic scholarships to a few select students, the demonstration of a new lifting program the students will participate in and a group photo.
Gardow said the school and its students and staff are excited for another appearance in the state tournament, and the support the community has shown has been encouraging.
“This is a great community and a great school,” Gardow said. “There are a lot of people behind us and we’re really proud of the team, especially through the transition of a new Athletic Director and a new Head Coach. It’s really important and good to see we are carrying over the transition that’s been here for so many years.”
A leading bank in the Chippewa Valley just donated to a leading charity to help make the area a better place.
Charter Bank donated a check for $125,000 to Feed My People Food Bank at the bank’s Eau Claire location Thursday afternoon to help benefit the nonprofit’s new campaign, Feeding Healthy Futures. The project has come to the forefront due to the rising need for food and services in the Chippewa Valley during recent years.
The building project would dwarf the size of the current 18,000-square foot facility Feed My People Feed Park currently operates out of. The new location would be approximately 45,000 square feet and would allow for a good number of drastic improvements for the charity.
If the Feeding Healthy Futures project comes to fruition it would triple the cooler space available, double the number of pallet spaces available, improve the warehouse flow, efficiency and safety, double the work area, building different structure to help community members expand programing and overall improve the overall efficiently of the location.
The total amount the project needs to come to fruition is $3 million, $2.4 million of which has already been raised through donors such as Mayo Clinic Health System, RCU Foundation and Rutledge Charities.
Charter Bank President and CEO Paul Kohler said the bank felt it was important to donate to the cause due to it striking so close to home.
“This is a problem right here in our home,” Kohler said. “It’s something we need to address. I’m glad that we have wonderful volunteers and staff at Feed My People to help combat this issue. The bank is just extremely pleased to be able to be one of the first businesses to step up and contribute. We want to lead the way in our community, we want to help our community be become a better place and we couldn’t be more excited to be behind this project.”
Feed My People Executive Director Emily Moore said if the new building comes to fruition it would help foster growth for Feed My People in the area.
“It’s predominantly space, but the space will create opportunities,” Moore said. “There will be significantly more space for volunteers, which creates new opportunities for programs. Often times we come up with great ideas about things that we might be able to do to reach people, but they get a little stymied because they are hard to manage within our current confines.”
Since the current Feed My People Food Bank location opened in 2009, the organization has seen a 113 percent growth in the number of people they’ve served as well as a 620 percent increase in the pounds of produce they’ve distributed. Moore said the expansion would help the organization become more efficient and help greatly increase the amount of food deprived individuals that require services like theirs.
Moore said she knew the project was a leap of faith, but early supporters have shown what a giving community the Chippewa Valley is.
“When we started talking about this project we knew these were big plans and it would take big hearts to make it happen,” Moore said. “Charter Bank and our other early supporters have really shown that. We are just incredibly grateful.”
To donate or learn more about the Feeding Healthy Futures building project campaign put on by the Feed My People Food Bank, you can visit their website at fmpfoodbank.org.
Legal professionals around the state are hoping that when budget negotiations end, Wisconsin’s legal system will get some relief.
In the budget he unveiled Feb. 28, Gov. Tony Evers took some steps to address underfunded district attorney’s offices and staff public defender positions.
If approved, the budget would put in place a pay progression in those states.
His proposal would also raise the rate paid to private bar lawyers for public defender work to $70 per hour, up from $40 an hour — the lowest rate in the nation and one that hasn’t changed since it was reduced from $50 in 1995.
Legal groups, however, are calling for more improvements, arguing that the changes would likely not solve the problems the court system is currently facing.
The State Public Defender’s Office, Wisconsin District Attorney’s Association, Association of State Prosecutors, Department of Justice and Director of State Court’s Office collaborated on a comprehensive biennial budget proposal for 2019 to 2021 to address issues such as long wait times, lack of lawyers willing to take public defender work and talent drain.
Their proposals include pay progression for assistant district attorney positions, more assistant district attorney positions and increasing the state public defender rate.
It also includes requests for funding of crime lab staff and dedicated crime scene response team funding.
Chippewa County district attorney Wade Newell, said the requests are meant to help repair problems in a way that will correct it without unevenly affecting one area, which he said wouldn’t solve the issues faced by Wisconsinites.
“You can’t just address one part,” Newell said.
For instance, the counties are facing longer court wait times due to increased felony cases while fewer and fewer lawyers are willing to work for wages that don’t cover their overhead.
The pay progression for assistant district attorneys would help keep lawyers around when currently they have to look elsewhere, usually in private practice, for higher wages and growth.
“It ensures you get quality people who want to stay in and aren’t forced out by economic reasons every five years,” Newell said.
The costs for the reforms requested over their proposals were estimated by the requesting groups.
For instance, in the summary of the Wisconsin District Attorney’s Association and Association of State Prosecutors request, they estimated a biennial cost of $4.8 million to establish pay progression for assistant district attorneys and a cost of $7.8 million for the same period to establish new district attorney positions.
The State Public Defender’s Office estimated it should provide $16,612,700 in each year to raise public defender’s reimbursement to $100 an hour for representing indigent clients.
In June 2018, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin increased the hourly rate of reimbursement from $70 to $100 an hour effective Jan. 1, 2020, for attorneys appointed at county expense.
In summary of its request, the State Public Defender’s Office argued that without a corresponding increase in the public defender rate, the difficulty finding lawyers to work those cases would likely accelerate, “resulting in a systemic crisis for courts and significant additional costs to counties.”
Newell said that while Chippewa County did not experience this as badly, there were areas of the state where wait times could be months for an accused subject to get their constitutionally granted public defender if they couldn’t pay, resulting in victims also waiting to get cases resolved.
Newell said that at their core, the requests reflect a belief that addressing only one part of a problem won’t make the system more efficient.
“It’s been coming to this for a while,” Newell said. “It’s been getting worse.”