Newspaper prompts school investigation into sexual assault charges against student
Seventeen-year-old Daniel Koepke faces four felony charges after allegedly sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl over the summer.
He was charged in Washington County Circuit Court on July 17. Charges include first-degree child sexual assault, exposing genitals or pubic area, causing a child to view/listen to sexual activity and incest. Monday, Nov. 5, however, was the first time officials at Hamilton School District heard of it.
Koepke is a senior at Hamilton High School and lives on Majestic Heights Trail, right around the corner from Woodside Elementary.
The conditions of his bond state that he is to have no contact with the victim or the victim’s family, he’s to stay at his main residence, that he is not to travel outside of the state except for a planned trip with his family, and he is not to have any unsupervised contact with anyone younger than 16 except his younger brother.
Last week, the alleged victim’s mother – who lives in Washington County – contacted the Sussex Sun saying, “I want all those kids at that elementary school, on his street and at the high school to be safe.”
When a Sun reporter contacted the School District on Nov. 5, officials there said they were not aware of the charges.
“Late Monday afternoon, (the Washington County District Attorney’s office) did send us some information related to the bond release condition after our Waukesha County Police liaison requested it,” said Hamilton School Public Information Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg.
Earlier that afternoon, the School District reviewed Koepke’s charges for the first time after the Sussex Sun passed along a copy of the criminal complaint.
Because the charges are filed under the jurisdiction of Washington County, neither the school nor the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department knew about the case. Washington County District Attorney Mark Bensen said that he “had no reason to dispute that they were not made aware of the situation prior to Monday.”
“It is a legitimate concern,” said Lt. Torin Misko, director of police services for the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department, who works at the Sussex substation and was also not familiar with the case before Nov. 5.
It still isn’t clear how the lapse in communication occurred.
Bensen said that law enforcement officers are “sometimes aware of the case and sometimes they’re not” but he’s “not sure” how that they are made aware.
“It’s their job,” Bensen said.
Since seeing the official charges and requesting details about the bond’s conditional release details, the school worked with officials to develop a course of action and “immediately put restrictions and individual supervision in place,” according to Lindberg.
Lindberg added that all Hamilton schools have secure and monitored entrances/exits. Playground supervisors and staff members have been directed to be “extra vigilant,” she said.
The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department has also arranged for more patrol in those areas. If parents or members of the community have any questions or concerns, they are asked to contact the Sheriff’s Department.
According to the criminal complaint, Koepke was babysitting the victim and her siblings July 12 when he asked the young girl to undress and watch while he pulled down his pants and touched the child inappropriately with his fingers. He then fondled himself, according to the complaint. Koepke allegedly told the victim not to tell her mother or she would be sent to the “naughty corner.”
The complaint said that the child told her mom what happened because she “knew it was the right thing to tell” and “even if someone tells you to keep a secret, (my mommy) told me if they did something bad I need to tell.” Her mother immediately told her family members and contacted the police.
The complaint says Koepke’s story changed several times when questioned by police, and that he admitted to being untruthful and minimizing his actions. The complaint added that he stated that he knew what he did was wrong but he was “sexually aroused and was unable to control himself.”
Koepke’s arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 15 in Washington County Circuit Court.
This is a developing story; watch for more information at LivingLakeCountry.com and in future issues of the Sussex Sun.
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