RF man gets four years prison for sexual assaultsBeing dishonest put Bradley Hetchler further in the hole in Pierce County Circuit Court last Tuesday.
By: Phil Pfuehler, River Falls Journal
Being dishonest put Bradley Hetchler further in the hole in Pierce County Circuit Court last Tuesday.
The 20-year-old River Falls native was being sentenced for two counts of felony third degree sexual assault. His alleged dishonesty caught the attention of Judge Joseph Boles.
Boles explained before handing down his sentence that when Hetchler pled guilty to the charges in December, he admitted in court that he was guilty of those crimes. Then, while reading the pre-sentence investigation which was done afterward, Boles noticed Hetchler claimed both assaults were consensual.
“I couldn’t find you guilty without believing you were guilty,” Boles said.
Boles then addressed Hetchler’s drug use.
“He recognizes he has an alcohol problem, but he under-reports his drug use,” Boles said, noting family members and the agent believe he has a serious drug use problem.
Those acts along with the assaults led Boles to sentence Hetchler to four years prison along with four years extended supervision upon release.
“A probation sentence would undermine the seriousness of the offenses,” Boles said.
Hetchler was charged last August due to two separate incidents occurring in May and July.
The May incident happened when the victim, then 16, reported she and friends stopped by Hetchler’s trailer, as there was a party of 10-15 people with alcohol and marijuana going on.
She had a certain drink, which made her start to feel weird and light-headed. She went into a back bedroom to lie down. After 10-15 minutes, an individual came into the room, which she soon recognized was Hetchler.
He shut the door and then assaulted her, the victim claimed.
“Don’t move or it’s going to be worse,” she remembers Hetchler telling her. He told her repeatedly to be quiet and then left.
She identified Hetchler in a photo lineup the next day as her assailant. When arrested, Hetchler admitted to kissing and having contact, but no assault.
The second incident occurred when the victim, then 14, told law enforcement she was assaulted. She mentioned details, including Hetchler telling her not to tell anyone and be quiet while it was happening.
One witness saw Hetchler pulling the victim into his bedroom and another witness said she wouldn’t believe the victim would ever commit to sexual contact. Additional witnesses said the victim was in tears after leaving Hetchler’s room.
@t:County Assistant District Attorney Bill Thorie was amazed by Hetchler’s acts.
“For the first 17 years of his life, he was functional, proud of himself and proud of others,” he said. “The wheels just fell off in a couple of years.”
Thorie asserted that Hetchler has a high probability to reoffend due to his lifestyle and his living arrangements.
Hetchler’s attorney, Julie Weber, argued that spending 18 months in a jail will be punishment enough and four years of confinement will not help Hetchler get the treatment he needs right away.
Boles disagreed, also stating he found the May assault appalling as the victim was drugged.
“His level of criminal thinking is scary and requires some level of treatment not available in this community,” he said.