Dunn County judge dismisses felony count against Downing man accused of causing mental harm to a child

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  A Dunn County judge has dismissed a felony count of causing mental harm to a child for a Downing man who pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of fourth degree sexual assault.

Judge James Peterson determined during a hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court February 12 for Jay E. Olson, 57, that Olson had complied with a deferred prosecution agreement on the felony count of causing mental harm to a child and dismissed the felony.

[emember_protected] Olson pleaded no contest before Judge Michael Bitney in February of 2016 and was found guilty on three counts of fourth degree sexual assault and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and two years of probation.

Part of the deferred prosecution agreement was that if Olson successfully completed the terms of probation, the felony count of causing mental harm to a child would be dismissed.

Judge Peterson also ordered the $2,500 signature bond vacated that Olson had signed for bail during a court hearing in February of 2014.

According to the criminal complaint, in 2013, Olson had sexual contact with a girl less than 16 years of age at his home in Downing and while on a canoe trip on the Hay River.

Olson admitted to investigators the girl had been at his home and they had gone on canoe trips but denied having any sexual contact with her.

When investigators asked about his relationship with the girl, Olson said he felt he was someone she could talk to and that he thought he was being a good friend and allowing her to vent.

According to the complaint, the girl had told one of her teachers about incidents that had happened with Olson and said he was touching her while she showered and had asked many questions about a sexual assault that had happened to her when she was very young.

While the girl talked to her teacher about the incidents, the teacher reported the girl was crying and was very distraught, according to the complaint.

Judge Bitney, during the sentencing hearing in 2016, also ordered Olson to take part in a psychological-sexual evaluation and to follow through on recommendations from the evaluation.

Judge Bitney held off on ordering Olson to register as a sex offender and noted that Olson may be required to register as a sex offender if his probation was revoked.

Prior to Olson’s no-contest plea, the case had been scheduled to go to trial in February of 2016 and had been scheduled for trial several times since the charges were filed in early 2014. [/emember_protected]