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Special report

10 years after Becker's arrest, Journal Times to release podcast; trailer available

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Gary Becker, mugshot Jan. 13, 2009

Racine Mayor Gary Becker is shown in a Kenosha County Jail booking photo.

RACINE — It might be hard for some people to believe it has been 10 years since then-Racine Mayor Gary Becker was arrested on disturbing sex charges.

For a city the size of Racine, when a key municipal official is arrested it tends to bring chaos and many questions in the wake of the incident. Will the mayor be removed from office? If so, how? Who will fill the role as interim mayor? What will happen to current city projects? When will there be a new election to fill the position if the person arrested steps down or is forced from office?

Today, The Journal Times is releasing a promotional audio trailer of an original podcast called “Belle City,” which relives what that time was like in Racine. “Belle City” is scheduled to be released as a series in January. It will tell the behind-the-scenes story of a tense time in Racine’s history and how the city moved past it.

With the eyes of the state on Racine, “Belle City” dives into how city officials found the answers to difficult questions surrounding the chain of events.

Those who were around during that time said they were shocked by the arrest, and city officials worked hard to assure citizens the city was moving forward.

A special election was scheduled for Becker’s replacement, and on May 5, 2009, the citizens voted John Dickert into the mayor’s office. The ensuing Becker criminal investigation and trial would take place over the remaining months of 2009 and into 2010.

To produce the podcast, Journal Times reporter Ricardo Torres interviewed several former city officials who were involved in that trying time in Racine history.

Ten years later, some of those The Journal Times interviewed said it feels like Racine is much further removed than a decade removed from that dark period.

To listen to the podcast trailer, go to and search for “Becker podcast.”


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Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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