RACINE — Incest charges could be added to Curt Johnson’s ongoing sexual assault case, which the state is seeking after reportedly realizing there is no need to “pull its punches” to gain the alleged victim’s cooperation.
The Racine County District Attorney’s Office seeks to add three counts of incest with a child by stepparent to the one currently facing Johnson: repeated sexual assault of a child, according to court documents filed on Feb. 15. All four of the Class C felony counts each carry a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison. He is accused of multiple sexual assaults of a girl, now 16, over a period of several years.
The 56-year-old is the former chairman of Diversey Inc. and son of the late SC Johnson Chairman Sam Johnson.
Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz initially granted the defense’s motion to strike the amendment because it was filed past the Jan. 23 deadline, but Assistant District Attorney Robert Repischak filed a motion to reconsider on Feb. 21, saying they realized after the deadline the alleged victim will likely not cooperate with the prosecution.
With her cooperation “now in doubt,” Repischak advised Gasiorkiewicz he is now seeking to essentially extradite the girl, currently residing in North Carolina, and recruit the help of the local judicial system there to compel her to Wisconsin to testify.
Original charges did not include incest in part because prosecutors didn’t want to “alienate the victim and thus dissuade her from cooperation,” Repischak wrote.
Then the state reportedly learned from the victim’s counsel near mid-February that she would not accept a subpoena by mail or authorize the attorney to accept service on her behalf. When he asked whether they’d have to formally engage the local judicial system to get the victim to Wisconsin to testify, her counsel reportedly advised that “the extradition-like process” would indeed have to be utilized.
“As such, the plaintiff no longer feels compelled to hold back on filing the criminal charges that can be brought in this matter for fear of possibly (losing) the victim’s cooperation. That cooperation is now in doubt,” Repischak wrote.
He went on to argue the additional charges “reflects the true and complete nature of this case and the merits of the case should be litigated in total,” and asked the court to reconsider its original decision to strike it.
Kathleen Quinn, the alleged victim’s attorney, could not immediately be reached Thursday.
Online court records show a final pretrial conference is scheduled for April 2. Trial is set to begin April 23. There is also an ongoing appeal over the access to the medical records of the alleged victim and whether she should be allowed to testify.