Judge orders an additional $15,000 forfeited from Lopez cash bail

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  A Dunn County judge has ordered the forfeiture of an additional $15,000 from a $55,000 cash bail posted for a former Boyceville man whose whereabouts are unknown.

Judge Rod Smeltzer ordered the bail forfeiture at a hearing February 15 in Dunn County Circuit Court concerning 40-year-old Ted Lopez, who is charged with multiple felonies related to child sexual assault and possession of child pornography.

Judge Smeltzer ordered a forfeiture of $20,000 in cash bail last September. All together $35,000 of the cash bail remained.

Charles Huff, the attorney for Ted Lopez, appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court before Judge Smeltzer September 11, 2017, and said he did not know the whereabouts of Lopez, and that he had not had any contact with Lopez since the end of June.

In a 2016 case, Lopez is charged with four felonies: repeated sexual assault of the same child with at least three violations of first degree sexual assault; child enticement with sexual contact; exposing a child to harmful material; and causing mental harm to a child.

In a separate 2016 case, Lopez is charged with seven felonies: repeated sexual assault of the same child with at least three violations of first degree sexual assault; causing mental harm to a child; child sexual exploitation; causing a child less than 13 years of age to view or listen to a sexual act; child enticement with sexual contact; exposing a child to harmful material; and possession of child pornography.

In a 2017 case, Lopez is charged with two felonies: child exploitation and exposing a child to harmful material.

During the February 15 court hearing, Huff was not in court but was, instead, at a court hearing in Barron County. Huff had previously asked Judge Smeltzer to remove him as the attorney representing Lopez, but Judge Smeltzer denied the request.

Whereabouts unknown

Alma and Santiago Lopez, the parents of Ted Lopez, sent a letter to the court saying they do not know where their son is and that they have not had communication with him.

Mr. and Mrs. Lopez are taking care of Ted Lopez’s 10-year-old daughter.

The Lopezs posted a $55,000 cash bail for Ted Lopez and had borrowed part of the money from Joy and Gary Evenson, Judge Smeltzer said.

The state is asking for a forfeiture of the remaining cash bond, said Renee Taber, Dunn County assistant district attorney.

“That’s the risk you take when you post bond,” Taber said.

Judge Smeltzer asked Santiago Lopez how he intended to repay the Evensons, who are friends of Mr. and Mrs. Lopez.

Whatever money is left over monthly will go toward paying back the Evensons, Santiago Lopez told the court, noting that they have been taking care of their granddaughter since she was three years old.

Santiago Lopez said he and his wife had lived in Puerto Rico but they had sold their house and had moved to the United States to take care of their granddaughter.

Their granddaughter is getting excellent marks in school, he said.

Judge Smeltzer asked about their granddaughter’s mother and whether she had contact with her child.

The mother is not around and has “had problems her whole life,” Santiago Lopez said.

Judge Smeltzer ordered an additional $15,000 be forfeited and that $20,000 be returned to Mr. and Mrs. Lopez.

“It’s not fair what your son did to you,” Judge Smeltzer said.

Telephone call

After learning of additional allegations against Ted Lopez, according to the complaint, Boyceville Police Chief Greg Lamkin went to Menomonie where he and a deputy from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department attempted to locate Lopez at a home on Tainter Street.

Lopez appeared in court on the additional charges February 1, 2017.

While the officers were at the home, Lopez’s parents said they did not know where he was, but then they received a telephone call.

The father identified the caller as Ted Lopez and subsequently handed the telephone to Police Chief Lamkin, who told Lopez he needed to talk to him in person.

According to the complaint, Lopez’s father took the telephone back and was heard asking the caller about a job the caller had gone to see about. Lopez’s father began speaking softly, and then in a louder voice said, “Okay, Rene, listen to this. We’re not coming to visit. We have no money. We’ll have to leave it until next year. I don’t have the money to go to California.”

Lopez’s father hung up the phone and then came back into the living room and stated, “that was Rene my other son. He was looking for a job, but I don’t know where he is right now.”

Police Chief Lamkin asked if it was not Ted on the phone, and Lopez’s father said it was his other son from California.

According to the complaint, “Chief Lamkin told Santiago that he said it was the defendant and tried to have him talk to the defendant on the phone. Santiago said he thought it was the defendant but it was not.”

Police Chief Lamkin and the deputy drove around the neighborhood and down the alley and saw someone wearing a jacket walking into the back door of the home.

Police Chief Lamkin went back to the home and talked to Mrs. Lopez, who said the person they had seen was her husband, getting her rosary from outside.

Lopez initially was being held on a $100,000 cash bail, but since Lopez could not come up with the cash, Judge Smeltzer reduced the bail to $50,000 in October of 2016.

The $5,000 cash bail was for the additional charges against Lopez.

During an April of 2017 court hearing, Dunn County District Attorney Andrea Nodolf had asked for a cash bail of $500,000.