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DC judge consolidates child assault cases of former Colfax man

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  A Dunn County judge has consolidated two separate cases involving a former Colfax resident accused of child sexual assault.

Elmer C. Shilts Jr., 66, formerly of Colfax and currently of Knapp, appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court with his attorney, Kerry Kelm, on July 12.

Shilts is charged with eight felony counts related to the sexual assault of a child.

In the first of the two cases, the alleged victim was seven years old at the time, and in the second case, the alleged victim was between the ages of five and seven at the time.

The assaults allegedly took place at an apartment building in Colfax, at the Colfax fairgrounds and in a car parked at a Menomonie restaurant.

According to the criminal complaint, during interviews regarding the first case with a social worker, former Colfax Police Chief Pete Gehring and an officer with the Menomonie police department, Shilts alternated between denying that anything had happened, that it was not true and he would “deny it until the day he died” and saying he could not remember if anything had happened, but if something did happen, he was sorry — and admitting that during one incident he had asked the girl if he could touch her vagina and then had masturbated.

During the July 12 court hearing, Kelm told Judge Rod Smeltzer that Shilts’s competency may be an issue.

Judge Smeltzer set a November 4 deadline for Kelm to file any motions related to competency and also ordered a competency evaluation for Shilts.

Assistant District Attorney Holly Wood-Webster argued before the court that evidence related to other similar acts should be allowed as evidence in the current case.

Judge Smeltzer ruled that he would not allow any other acts committed by Shilts, or alleged to have been committed by Shilts, to be used in court pertaining to the current cases.

In the second case, Shilts is alleged to have assaulted another child between May of 2012 and April of 2014 in the Village of Colfax.

According to the criminal complaint, Colfax Police Chief William Anderson received a written statement from the child’s mother in February of 2015.

Shilts had come up in a conversation, and the girl had asked if he was dead.

The mother had explained that he was not dead but that he was in trouble for touching a young girl’s private area.

According to the mother, the child’s face dropped, and she said, “Mommy, I should have told you something a long time ago.”

When the mother asked about what she should have been told, the little girl said, “He did that to me, too.”

Attorney Kelm, Assistant District Attorney Wood-Webster and the mother of one of the victims had no objection to the two cases being consolidated.

A status conference in the Shilts case is scheduled for September 19.

A final pre-trial hearing is scheduled for November 14, and a two-day jury trial is set in the Shilts case for December 1 and December 2.