By Jacob Mathias
A Wisconsin Rapids man faces up to 40 years imprisonment after allegedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.
Kendell Gaetz, 21, made his initial appearance via video in circuit court on Sept. 12 from the Portage Co. Jail on a charge of sexual assault of a child under 16 years of age. Gaetz’s attorney, Erik Mcfarland, was present to represent him in court.
According to the criminal complaint, the girl contacted the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 30 alleging she’d been sexually assaulted by Gaetz the night before. According to the girl, she initially met Gaetz in July at the Amherst Fair, when she told him she was 15.
The two reportedly kept contact through text message and phone calls until Aug. 29, according to the complaint, when Gaetz called the girl and invited her to a cabin on the 3500 block of Tomorrow River Rd. in Amherst. The two met at about 2:00 AM, when she claims Gaetz assaulted her without a condom.
A sexual assault nurse later recovered semen from the girl’s body during an exam, but no other details of the assault were listed in the complaint.
Deputies interviewed Gaetz later that same day, when he addmited to spending time with the girl on the day in question, and said they hugged, but insisted no sexual contact had taken place between them.
When asked if the girl’s story would align with Gaetz’s, he said, “It should be…if not, she’s lying.”
Following the interview, Gaetz was taken into custody at the Portage County Jail, where he refused to answer any more questions and requested an attorney.
If convicted, Gaetz faces up to a $100,000 fine, 40 years imprisonment or both. Gaetz is also listed as a repeat offender in court records, meaning if convicted his sentence could be increased. According to court records, Gaetz was previously convicted of lewd and lascivious behavior and felony resisting or obstructing an officer in Waupaca Co. in 2014.
Gaetz is currently held on a $15,000 cash bond and returns to court on Sept. 26 at 3:00 PM for a preliminary hearing.