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Former Wheeler/Boyceville resident found not guilty of first degree sexual assault of a child

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE — A 42-year-old Wilson man has been found not guilty of the first degree sexual assault of a child by a Dunn County jury.

John A. Bruce was found not guilty following a two-day trial in Dunn County January 14 and 15.

A mistrial in the same case was declared during a two-day trial last May.

 The Honorable William Stewart, Jr. ruled in April of last year that evidence of a prior conviction was admissible in the trial related to the alleged repeated sexual assault of a child who was between the ages of two and five at the time.

According to the criminal complaint, Bruce was accused of sexually assaulting a girl born in 1993 from January of 1995 to October of 1998 and that the assaults occurred in Boyceville and in Wheeler when the defendant lived with the child’s mother.

Dunn County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Maki asked that evidence of a prior conviction of the first-degree sexual assault of a child in St. Croix County be admissible in the current Dunn County case.

Judge Stewart said that his interpretation of the relevant state statute is that the law allows evidence of conviction to be admitted to show character, but that the law relates only to evidence of conviction but not the presentation of facts and circumstances related to the conviction.

According to the complaint, the alleged victim came forward with accusations of sexual assault three years ago when she was 17 years old.

Bruce was between the ages of 23 and 28 when the alleged assaults occurred.

Repeated sexual assault of a child is a Class B felony that carries a penalty of up to 40 years in prison.

Online court records indicate that Bruce’s previous address was in Glenwood City.