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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A 41-year-old former Boyceville man has pleaded no contest and been found guilty on four felony counts of child enticement and possession of child pornography as part of a plea deal.
Ted Lopez appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court for a plea hearing with his attorney, Matthew Krische, before Judge Rod Smeltzer February 11.
Lopez was scheduled to go trial later in the week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
While Judge Smeltzer accepted Lopez’s plea of no contest and found Lopez guilty of one felony count of child enticement causing mental and bodily harm and three felony counts of the possession of child pornography, the judge dismissed 18 remaining felony counts of the 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 to view or listen to a sexual act, exposing a child to harmful material and multiple additional counts of the possession of child pornography.
Judge Smeltzer ordered the dismissed counts read into the record for sentencing.
Judge Smeltzer also dismissed a separate case of two felony counts of child sexual exploitation and exposing a child to harmful material and ordered those counts read into the record for sentencing as well.
A Dunn County jury found Lopez guilty on six felony counts related to the sexual assault of a six-year-old boy in Boyceville in 2009 and 2010 following a three-day jury trial in December.
The incidents for which Lopez reached a plea deal occurred in the Village of Boyceville between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2014.
The victim and his mother are satisfied with the guilty verdict and are agreeable to the plea deal to avoid the additional trauma to the victim of a jury trial, said Andrea Nodolf, Dunn County district attorney.
Nodolf noted the father of the victim is currently homeless and that she has been trying to reach him concerning the plea deal but has so far been unsuccessful.
Lopez could potentially be sentenced to 119 years of initial confinement in prison on the counts for which he was convicted by a jury in December, Nodolf said.
Lopez could potentially be sentenced to 84 years of initial confinement for the cases on which he reached a plea deal, she said.
Lopez was convicted at trial of 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
Lopez is subject to a “repeat offender” penalty on each of the counts in the plea deal of an additional six years in prison because of a previous felony conviction related to the possession of marijuana.
Lopez was convicted of felony possession of marijuana in Barron County in January of 2014 and qualifies as a repeat offender under Wisconsin’s habitual criminality section of the state statutes.
Lopez also will be under lifetime supervision for being a serious sex offender.
Child enticement and possession of child pornography are Class D felonies that carry a penalty of a fine for each count of up to $100,000 and/or 25 years in prison.
Sexual exploitation of a child is a Class C felony that carries a penalty of a fine of up to $100,000 and/or up to 40 years in prison.
In addition, Lopez could be fined $500 for each image of child pornography in his possession.
While the dismissed counts will be read into the record for sentencing, the dismissed counts also could be considered for restitution, Judge Smeltzer said.
Judge Smeltzer ordered a Pre-sentence Investigation (PSI) on the counts for which Lopez reached a plea deal and noted a PSI had already been ordered following the guilty verdict at the jury trial in December.
Lopez is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court on March 29.
Krische, Lopez’s attorney, said there was no objection to combining the two PSIs and combining the sentencing hearing for the jury trial and the cases involving the plea deal, and Judge Smeltzer and District Attorney Nodolf both said they were hopeful the PSI could be completed in time for the sentencing hearing.
In one of the cases, during an interview with the Chippewa Valley Child Advocacy Center in Eau Claire, a boy said he was five years old when “stuff started happening that was not good.” He went on to describe numerous sexual assaults and also said that he had watched pornography with Lopez. When asked if the pornography involved people over or under ten years of age, the boy said “maybe under,” according to the criminal complaint.
The additional counts for the possession of child pornography were associated with a Menomonie police department case, and on August 30, 2016, while executing a search warrant at Lopez’s home in Menomonie, a computer was seized. In addition to a number of documents that identified Lopez as the owner of the computer, the hard-drive also contained 3,000 images of child pornography, according to the 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 complaint states.
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 him under his 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.
In 2017, Lopez skipped out on a $55,000 cash bail posted 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.
Judge Smeltzer ordered a forfeiture of $20,000 of the cash bail in September of 2017 and ordered the forfeiture of an additional $15,000 in February of 2018.
Santiago Lopez told the court during the February of 2018 hearing 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, 2018.