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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A 48-year-old Elk Mound man has been charged with contempt of court in Dunn County after violating a condition of bail prohibiting him from having contact with an alleged victim.
Richie L. Knuth, who is charged with three felonies and one misdemeanor related to the sexual assault of a child, made an initial appearance November 10 in Dunn County Circuit Court with his attorney, Francis Rivard, before Judge Rod Smeltzer.
Knuth also appeared on the sexual assault charges, and the contempt of court charge will be considered as a “tag a long.”
Bail was set at $500 cash in July on the assault charges, and according to online court records, at a November 16 hearing, Dunn County Assistant District Attorney Amber Hahn asked the court to increase bail to $5,000 and to modify the conditions of bail to have no contact with the victim and no contact through other parties.
Judge Smeltzer declined to increase the bail to $5,000 cash but did order Knuth to have no contact with the victim directly or through a third party.
Online court records indicate that later on November 16, the cash bail was increased to $5,000 with the condition of no contact with the victim.
Knuth is scheduled for a two-day jury trial in May of 2021, and an “other acts” motion hearing is scheduled in February.
According to the criminal complaint, Dunn County Investigator Rebecca Mayfield obtained e-mail messages on October 28 in which Knuth had asked the person with whom he was exchanging messages to give a message to the alleged victim.
The complaint notes that when the cash bail was set, Knuth had signed the bond form acknowledging the condition of no contact with the alleged victim.
During a preliminary hearing July 14, Investigator Mayfield told the court she was basing her testimony on her observations of a forensic interview with the alleged victim, who said the sexual assaults began when she was 14 years old.
Dunn County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Maki told the court that Knuth also had written inappropriate sexual letters to another teenager.
Three of the sexual assault charges are Class C felonies, and the fourth degree sexual assault charge is a Class A misdemeanor.
Upon conviction, each Class C felony carries a potential penalty of a fine of up to $100,000 and/or 40 years in prison.
Upon conviction, a Class A misdemeanor carries a potential penalty of a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to nine months in jail.
Contempt of court also is a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, carries a potential penalty of a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to one year in the county jail.
A motion hearing in the case is scheduled for February 1.