AP NEWS

Jury trial underway in Reedsburg rape case

October 5, 2016 GMT

A Sauk County jury may decide Wednesday whether a Reedsburg man sexually assaulted a young woman earlier this year.

Prosecutors charged 21-year-old Alex E. Stolte with two counts of felony second-degree sexual assault with the use of force in an incident that allegedly occurred in February.

Tuesday was the first of what is scheduled to be a two-day trial, and prosecutors called key witnesses, including the alleged victim, her friend and officers that investigated the complaint.

The young woman who said she was assaulted the night of Feb. 23 told jurors she went to Stolte’s home to pick up a friend who was there. When the friend – who apparently had become ill – was taken home by another person, the woman stayed at Stolte’s apartment.

That’s when she said he invited her to his room. The woman told jurors she thought he was going to show her the details of a business project he was working on. Instead, she said, he forced her to have sex.

The woman’s friend testified that the alleged victim came to her home sobbing the night of the incident, and looked like she had been through something horrible. However, she did not open up about what had happened at that time.

The Reedsburg Police Department officer who arrested and later interviewed Stolte also testified, saying that when he arrived at the defendant’s Reedsburg apartment, he seemed shaken.

“The only thing he said at any point in the hallway was ‘I’m sorry about this,’” Officer Joshua Benson told jurors, adding that the statement was not in response to any question.

The officer said when he served the warrant on Stolte, the defendant’s full body began to shake. The shaking was so intense, he told jurors, that the equipment he was wearing began to shake because he was holding the defendant.

In a recorded interview that was played for the jury, Stolte said he had been drinking and playing games with friends when his accuser – who he had known for about two weeks – came to the apartment.

After the others left, the alleged victim started falling all over him and coming on to him while they were seated on the couch. But he was not receptive to her advances, and moved away, Stolte said in the recorded interview.

Stolte denied having any sexual contact with the alleged victim until after he was taken for an exam at a local hospital. That’s when authorities say he changed his story and admitted that the two had intercourse.

Although Stolte initially denied that the woman had ever been in his bedroom, police allegedly found an article of her clothing there, along with marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Stolte pleaded no contest to two drug charges last week, and is due to be sentenced on those offenses after the jury trial has concluded.