Sentence: six months in jail, 7 years of probation
By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A 34-year-old Baldwin man has pleaded guilty to one count of causing mental harm to a child in a sexual assault case involving an eight-year-old girl and six-year-old boy in Boyceville.
Michael Allen Powell initially was charged with four counts of first-degree sexual assault and appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court September 14 to plead guilty to the amended charge.
Causing mental harm to a child is a Class F felony that carries a fine of up to $25,000 and/or 12.5 years in prison.
The Honorable Judge William Stewart accepted Powell’s guilty plea and sentenced him to six months in jail and seven years of probation.
The incident involving the children occurred in Boyceville on January 2 of this year, and Powell has been in custody since January 11.
The children’s aunt and mother questioned the children’s allegations, but the grandmother believed the children, noted Andrew Maki, Dunn County assistant district attorney.
Powell told the court that during the time he has been incarcerated in the Dunn County Jail, he has had an opportunity to reflect on his past and to begin planning for his future.
Powell also said he has completed a number of programs, including an Alcohol and Other Drugs Assessment and anger management and that he would like to transfer his probation to Minnesota, where his mother lives, but that if he cannot transfer, he would like to participate in a Hope Gospel Mission program for 24 to 36 months.
Judge Stewart noted that the psychological assessment had revealed Powell was a victim of abuse when he was a child and that more than 50 percent of those who were abused as children go on to abuse in the way that they were abused.
In addition to jail time and probation, Powell was ordered to follow the recommendations from the AODA assessment, to complete a sex offender assessment and to register as a sex offender, to have no unsupervised contact with individuals under 18 years of age, and to have no contact with the victims.
A jury trial in the Powell case was originally scheduled for September 24 and 25.