RACINE — A Racine man who repeatedly molested a girl from infancy to 14 years old immediately began voicing displeasure on Friday as a judge handed down a sentence more than double the amount he may have expected.
Racine County Circuit Court Judge Tim Boyle imposed the maximum sentence — 25 years behind bars — on Kerry L. Chase, 51. Chase was convicted for sexually assaulting the child for 14 years, starting when she was in diapers and continuing until she told a middle school classmate about the abuse in 2010. Chase admitted to police that what began as fondling graduated to raping the child when she was 11 or 12 years old.
“Twenty-five (years) in? That ain’t right,” Chase began saying to his defense attorney, Richard Hart, while Boyle continued speaking. “You screwed me!”
The Wisconsin Department of Corrections had recommended a nine- to 10-year prison term for Chase, which prosecutors agreed to recommend in exchange for Chase taking a plea deal. But just because prosecutors agree, doesn’t mean the judge will.
“You’re actually killing something within that person who was assaulted,” Boyle said, likening the crime to a cold-blooded shooting. “There’s obviously something within your being that’s just not right. This is a demon and an evilness that they (child sexual assault victims) will live with their whole life.
“To me, that is the least I can do for her,” he said of the 25-year term.
Hart had asked for a sentence in the “six-year range” for the divorced father of three.
Assistant District Attorney Randy Schneider said that sexual-assault charges carried a prison term of up to 25 years, plus an additional maximum of 15 years on extended supervision.
Boyle also sentenced Chase to two years on extended supervision. Chase now must register as a sex offender.
“(The victim) really didn’t want to face him in court. I think she just wants to move on,” Schneider said during the sentencing.
Chase pleaded no contest in November to second-degree sexual assault of a child, a Class C felony.
“I’m sorry I put the courts through all this, the jail, my family. I take responsibility for what’s happened,” Chase said during his sentencing hearing. “I apologize to the victim. If she was here, I’d tell her that.”
Investigators learned of the abuse after the girl told her middle school boyfriend in April 2010 that Chase had been molesting her, according to his criminal complaint.
The boyfriend told his mother, and his mother drove the girl and her mother to the hospital. A Racine police investigator responded there at about 12:02 a.m. on April 19, 2010.
Prosecutors charged Chase the next day.
Chase admitted raping the child at least five times when she was 11 or 12, according to the complaint.
“It’s still hard for him to understand he’s done these things,” Hart said during the sentencing.
Chase has been in the Racine County Jail since April 19, 2010, jail logs show.