Delavan police officer chaged with bail jumping

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Andrea Anderson | June 5, 2016

ELKHORN—A Delavan police lieutenant who pleaded not guilty in March to charges accusing him of abusing his girlfriend now faces three felony bail jumping charges.

Special prosecutor Michael Thurston filed a criminal complaint Friday alleging Todd Wiese exchanged hundreds of text messages and met the woman at least twice over five months.

In Wiese's first case, he is charged with felony strangulation and suffocation and misdemeanors disorderly conduct and battery. He allegedly choked the woman with her scarf.

The woman from Rockford, Illinois, identified herself as Wiese's girlfriend Dec. 19 when law enforcement responded to her vehicle outside Wiese's Delavan apartment, according to previous testimony of Walworth County sheriff's Detective Jeff Recknagel.

According to the first criminal complaint, Wiese and the woman argued after dinner and drinks in Delavan the night of Dec. 18.

When the woman was at Wiese's apartment later, Wiese grabbed her by the scarf around her neck and choked her, Recknagel previously testified.

Wiese accused the woman of talking to another man, one complaint states.

In February, Wiese and the woman spent the night together at a hotel in Beloit and the woman's home in Rockford, Illinois, despite bond conditions that restricted Wiese from having contact or attempting to contact the woman, according to the most recent complaint.

Wiese used smartphone applications to contact the woman. The applications masked Wiese's phone number, Thurston said.

The two also communicated via phone applications SnapChat, Instagram and Pandora, the complaint states.

Wiese also is accused of drinking alcohol with the woman, which is a violation of his bond, the complaint states.

The woman told a victim witness specialist in mid-May about being in “regular communication” with Wiese from December through May, according to the complaint.

The messages between the two included in the new complaint discuss missing one another, modifying Wiese's bond conditions to allow contact between the two, and the risk involved in talking.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Hahn said the conversations were a “two-way street” and the purpose of bond is to ensure someone appears in court not to punish someone for continuing a romantic relationship.

“This is not a situation where Mr. Wiese is harassing the alleged victim," Hahn said. "...She's as much of an active participant as he is.”

Hahn requested a $1,000 cash bond.

Thurston said Wiese knew better than to contact the woman, was well aware of the risk he was taking and showed a “blatant disregard for the court's orders.”

Thurston asked for a $20,000 cash bond with the same conditions to be applied to both cases. Wiese was free on a $10,000 signature bond for his initial charges.

Court Commissioner Daniel Johnson imposed a $10,000 cash bond and imposed the existing bond conditions. The new bond covers both cases.

Johnson said part of the reason for the bond is that research shows domestic violence victims often stay in abusive relationships when it otherwise “wouldn't make logical sense to do so.”

“I don't look at it as a situation of two adults on equal footing despite the fact that the outward appearance of it may appear that way with mutual phone calls and mutual text messages and obviously adults engaging in adult type behavior with each other,” Johnson said.

Wiese and the woman had been dating for a few months and became engaged a week before the December incident, the woman told law enforcement.

Wiese is still on unpaid leave from the police department, police chief Tim O'Neill said.

Wiese appeared via video Friday from the Walworth County Jail where he is being held.

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