Trial begins for man accused in sex assault
ELKHORN A seven-woman, six-man jury was selected Monday to determine the fate of Scott L. Anderson, a former Whitewater resident charged with sexually assaulting a 2-year-old girl.
The Walworth County Court trial is expected to end today. One juror will be designated a reserve and dismissed before the remaining 12 jurors deliberate after hearing evidence.
Anderson, 35, initially appeared in court wearing orange jail coveralls and with his hands and arms shackled. He changed into civilian clothes when jury selection began.
Before the trial, defense attorney Joshua Klaff told Judge John Race that Anderson was placed on suicide watch in jail last week. Despite the watch, Klaff said he believed Anderson was "competent" and able to understand the proceedings.
Anderson, who now lives in Oconomowoc, is accused of sexually assaulting a 2-year-old girl Sept. 2, 2011. At the time, he was living at the home of the girl's mother. The mother and her two daughters shared a bedroom with Anderson.
The 2-year-old's mother contacted police when she woke up shortly before 2 a.m. Sept. 2 and saw Anderson touching her daughter. The criminal complaint against Anderson indicates he told Whitewater police he "was unable to sleep and that he put his hand up the side of the diaper" and had sexual contact with the child. In addition to being arrested on a charge of first-degree child sexual assault—contact with a child under the age of 13, Anderson was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Before Monday's trial, Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube and Klaff argued over how much of the criminal record of the 2-year-old's mother could be presented.
The mother was convicted July 5 of a felony count of failure to protect the 2-year-old and her sister. The conviction stems from the Sept. 2, 2011, incident involving Anderson.
The criminal complaint filed against the mother noted officers found there was no electricity in the residence, the temperature was higher than 90 degrees, and the residence smelled of feces and urine.
The complaint against the mother also indicates she told officers she suspected earlier that Anderson was having inappropriate contact with the 2-year-old, but "the defendant stated she did not want to believe Anderson was really doing that."
After pleading guilty, the mother received a three-year stayed prison sentence, was placed on probation for three years and was sentenced to six months in jail with work-release privileges as a condition of probation.
Judge Race said he would allow testimony regarding the mother's criminal record. He also said he would instruct the jury that Anderson may take the witness stand, although he is not required to do so.
The mother was crying in the courtroom as Grube cautioned the jury pool that sexual issues would be discussed. He asked if any potential jurors would "hold it against him" when he questioned the mother about a sexual assault of her 2-year-old daughter. No potential jurors raised a hand.
The mother was on the witness stand for most of Monday afternoon's session. The prosecution is expected to continue its case today with testimony from police officers who investigated the case.
If convicted of all three charges, Anderson faces a maximum sentence of 63 years, 6 months in prison and 30 days in jail. The sexual-assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 60 years.