DC judge finds former Colfax resident competent to stand trial for child assault

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE —  A Dunn County judge has found that a 67-year-old former Colfax resident now living in Knapp is competent to stand trial for child sexual assault.

Elmer C. Shilts, along with his attorney, Kerry A. Kelm, appeared before Judge Rod Smeltzer in Dunn County Circuit Court March 15.

Dunn County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Maki called on Dr. Anthony Jurek, a clinical psychologist, who testified that Shilts is competent to stand trial. 

Kelm called on Dr. Rebecca Seifert, another clinical psychologist, who testified that Shilts is not competent to stand trial.

After listening to arguments from Shilts’ attorney and the prosecuting attorney, Judge Smeltzer found that Shilts is competent to stand trial and set a jury trial in June.

All together, Shilts is charged with 11 felony counts related to the sexual assault of two different children.

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.

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.

A final pre-trial is scheduled June 2 and a one-day jury trial is scheduled later in June.

Judge Smeltzer advised Kelm and Maki to meet and try to reach a plea deal to settle the case before the date of the final pre-trial.