RACINE — On Friday, a teenage sexual assault victim stood in a Racine courtroom and described the effects years of sexual assault had on her: “I had to go through six years of hell. I was only a kid and my innocence got taken away.”
The girl was assaulted by Gregory Frank, 68, of Waterford, who was in court to be sentenced for third-degree sexual assault and felony bail jumping. Frank is currently 14 months into a three-year prison sentence for possession of child pornography.
“I am sincerely sorry to (the victim) for my actions. They are totally unjustified,” Frank said. “I know she will never accept my apology.”
While speaking to the court, Frank said he hoped the victim would find God, as he was recently baptized, and asked the victim’s family to “look back at some of the good times” they had.
At the end of the hearing, Racine Circuit Court Judge Wynne Laufenberg sentenced Frank to five years in prison for sexual assault and three years in prison for bail jumping. Those sentences will run consecutive to one another and the sentence Frank is currently serving, meaning Frank will spend an additional eight years in prison.
“You say you are sorry to the victim here today, but I think there is more evidence that you feel sorry for yourself, Mr. Frank,” Laufenberg said. “Your warped way of thinking is going to take a long time to correct.”
Investigation uncovers assault
The case began in February 2018, when a Racine County’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigator executed a search warrant at Frank’s residence and found hundreds of what were deemed inappropriate images on Frank’s two laptop computers and a tablet.
One of the inappropriate photos was that of the teenage girl later identified as Frank’s victim. The teen girl told investigators that Frank had touched her inappropriately about 10 times in the past.
Almost immediately while out on bond for the charges, Frank purchased four cellphones and a Dell tablet computer after being told he could not have cellphones or devices with internet access. Frank claimed he bought the devices for someone else. Another time he claimed it was to keep in contact with a probation officer, although he had none.
For the bond infraction, Frank netted two additional counts of felony bail jumping.
Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Sommers said Frank divulged that he assaulted the victim to get “tingles” in his genitals so that he could please his wife. He also reportedly made disparaging comments about the victim, saying he was not attracted to her.
“I’m troubled by so much here. His actions are horrendous, and what he did to his (victim), to turn around and insult her,” Sommers said. “And to try to turn around and say he is trying to sexually satisfy his wife.”
Sommers cited statistics showing the long-lasting, negative effects often left on sexual assault victims, adding: “The impact of sexual assault on victims can’t be understated.”
She recommended three to five years in prison and a period of extended supervision for the sexual assault charge, to be served consecutive to his current sentence in the child pornography case.
Frank’s attorney, Patrick Cafferty, said that before these incidents, Frank had no criminal record and said “generally speaking, Frank’s character is good.” While he said his client’s acceptance of responsibility has not been what he described as “perfect,” he said Frank regrets the situation.
“He feels genuine remorse about what he has done and we can’t go back and change this,” Cafferty said.
He asked the judge to consider Frank’s health and age, and said Frank will likely be very old when released, posing less of a threat to the public. He recommended three years in prison and five years extended supervision for the sexual assault charge, asking that the sentence runs concurrent to Frank’s current sentence.
Before Laufenberg handed down her sentence, she said she was disturbed by Frank’s statements and did not believe many of the excuses he provided.
She said she took issue with Frank purchasing electronic devices after being told not to: “The first glaring trait I see is that of complete, utter arrogance on your part, a denial of your wrongdoing, and probably most important here, a lack of insight.”
Laufenberg also felt that Frank’s claim that he had unintentionally downloaded child pornography was “ridiculous,” considering his military background as a computer expert.
“I have not heard one word from you or anyone of these sentencing memorandums that you understand the impact that your actions have taken here for on your family,” Laufenberg said.
“You say you are sorry to the victim here today, but I think there is more evidence that you feel sorry for yourself, Mr. Frank. Your warped way of thinking is going to take a long time to correct.” — Racine County Circuit Court Judge Wynne Laufenberg