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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A sentencing hearing in Dunn County for a former Boyceville man who pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of a child has been rescheduled to allow the defendant to appear in court in person.
Patrick Korwicki, 38, was scheduled for a sentencing hearing August 25 before Judge James Peterson and appeared in court using the Zoom online platform.
Judge Peterson said he was reluctant to conduct the sentencing hearing remotely when state statutes grant the defendant the right to be there in person.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, defendants and attorneys have been appearing using the Zoom platform in order to reduce the number of people who are in the courtrooms and in the judicial center.
Korwicki told the court he had believed the notice he received about the date and the time of the sentencing hearing required him to appear by Zoom.
Francis Rivard, Korwicki’s attorney, was present in the courtroom.
Rivard said Korwicki had never failed to show up for a court appearance when he was required to be in court and that he felt nervous about not having Korwicki with him in the courtroom for the sentencing hearing.
Judge Peterson said he has not done any sentencing remotely.
When Judge Peterson asked Korwicki if he wanted to be in the courtroom in person for the sentencing hearing, Korwicki said he would have to ask his attorney.
Rivard said he preferred Korwicki be present in the courtroom, and Korwicki responded that he should be there in person for the hearing.
When Judge Peterson asked Korwicki if he wanted to proceed on that day or a different day, Korwicki replied that he was about 30 minutes away, and since it was already late in the day, he did not want the judge or courtroom staff to have to wait for him to get there.
Online court records indicate a Downing address for Korwicki.
Korwicki has remained in contact and has been cooperative, Rivard noted.
The victim is not planning to make a statement to the court, said Megan Kelly, assistant district attorney.
The sentencing hearing for Korwicki has been rescheduled for a one-hour hearing on September 22 at 4 p.m.
Korwicki is required to be in court in person, Judge Peterson noted.
As part of a plea agreement, Korwicki pleaded guilty at a court hearing in June to the sexual assault of a child, and Judge Peterson dismissed the remaining counts but ordered them read into the record for sentencing.
Korwicki originally was charged with two felony counts of the repeated sexual assault of a child with at least three violations of first or second degree sexual assault, two felony counts of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, three misdemeanor counts of possessing drug paraphernalia, and one misdemeanor count of bail jumping.
In a separate case in which Korwicki was charged with misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and misdemeanor bail jumping, Korwicki pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, and Judge Peterson dismissed the count of misdemeanor bail jumping.
At the time of the rescheduled sentencing hearing, Korwicki remained out of custody on a $5,000 cash bail.
According to the criminal complaint, the alleged victim told a Child Protective Services social worker from Dunn County Human Services that Korwicki had sexually assaulted her about a dozen times and that she particularly remembered one incident because it had occurred the day before her 15th birthday.
The victim also described one of the assaults as violent “because it hurt” and said other sexual assaults “were the same drunk ones,” according to the complaint.
Korwicki denied having any sexual contact with the victim when he spoke to Boyceville Police Chief Greg Lamkin.