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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — Former Boyceville resident Ted Lopez has been found guilty by a Dunn County jury on six felony counts related to the sexual assault of a six-year-old boy in Boyceville in 2009 and 2010.
Lopez, age 41, was charged with the 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; causing mental harm to a child; first degree child sexual assault involving intercourse with a child under the age of 12; and child enticement by giving or selling drugs.
Three of the felonies include the modifier of lifetime supervision of a serious sex offender.
The case on which Lopez went to trial December 19, 20 and 21 is one of three cases filed in Dunn County against Lopez involving the sexual assault of children.
In a 2016 case, Lopez is charged with 23 felonies related to the sexual assault of a child and the possession of child pornography.
In a 2017 case, Lopez is charged with two felonies related to child sexual exploitation and exposing a child to harmful material.
Lopez is scheduled to go to trial on the 2016 and 2017 cases in February.
In 2017, Lopez skipped out on a $55,000 cash bail set in Dunn County but was located and arrested in Minnesota in March of 2018.
Alma and Santiago Lopez, the parents of Ted Lopez, posted the $55,000 cash bail and had borrowed part of the money from family friends Joy and Gary Evenson.
Santiago Lopez told the court at a hearing in February of 2018 that he and his wife had lived in Puerto Rico but they had sold their house and had moved to the United States to help take care of their granddaughter.
Lopez signed a cash bond in Dunn County for $250,000 on April 23, 2018. He was never able to post the cash bail and was in custody at the time the trial started on December 19.
According to the criminal complaint, Boyceville Police Chief Greg Lamkin received reports from a social worker in Polk County in June of 2016 regarding an investigation of the repeated sexual assault of the same child.
The social worker had conducted a forensic interview with a 13-year-old boy. The sexual assaults had occurred in the Village of Boyceville when the boy was six or seven years old.
The victim told the social worker Lopez had touched his penis with his hands and mouth under the boy’s clothes and underwear.
The victim also told the social worker that Lopez had taken him to a motel “far away.”
Police Chief Lamkin reviewed records and noted reports that confirmed the victim had lived in Boyceville between September of 2008 and December of 2010.
Police Chief Lamkin and an investigator with the Menomonie police department took Lopez into custody in July of 2016.
Lopez denied the allegations, according to the complaint.
At the start of the Lopez trial December 19, the entire jury panel was sworn in at shortly after 9 a.m., and the jurors hearing the case were selected and sworn in at 11:20 a.m.
After more than two days of testimony from a variety of witnesses, closing statements in the case by Matthew Krische, Lopez’s attorney, and Andrea Nodolf, Dunn County District Attorney, began around noon on Friday, December 21.
Jurors were excused to deliberate at 1:18 p.m., and the jury clerk announced they had reached a verdict at 2:52 p.m.
Judge Smeltzer polled the jury individually and found a unanimous verdict on all six counts against Lopez.
Judge Smeltzer vacated Lopez’s bail and ordered a pre-sentence investigation.
Two of the counts on which Lopez was convicted are Class B felonies; two counts are class D felonies; one is a Class F felony and one is Class I felony.
The maximum sentence for a Class B felony is up to 60 years in prison, so potentially, on the two Class B felonies, Lopez could be sentenced to 120 years.
District Attorney Nodolf has asked for a bifurcated sentence on the Class B felonies, which could add an additional 25 years in prison on each count.
Class D felonies carry a penalty of a fine of up to $100,000 and/or a prison term of up to 25 years.
Class F felonies carry a penalty of a fine of up to $25,000 and/or a prison term of up to 12 years and six months.
Class I felonies carry a penalty of a fine of up to $10,000 and/or a prison term of up to three years and six months.
All together, Lopez could be sentenced to more than 200 years in prison.
State law has changed and now requires sex offenders to be released in their “home county” after they have served their prison sentences, so at some point under current state law, if Lopez is sentenced to prison, he would be expected to return to Dunn County.
A sentencing hearing for Lopez is scheduled in Dunn County Circuit Court March 29 at 8:30 a.m.