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County supervisor charged

A Pierce County Board member has been charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly disrupting a UW-River Falls student meeting and using obscenities.

Witnesses said Benjamin Plunkett, 35, interrupted a Student Senate ethics committee meeting. They said, among other things, that he repeatedly directed sexual obscenities at two male student senators.

Plunkett, 709 Bartosh Lane, River Falls, is scheduled for an initial appearance May 18 in Pierce County Court on a single count of disorderly conduct on University of Wisconsin lands. The case is a forfeiture-level charge that carries a fine of $280.

"We are going to contest the charges, and we're going to set it for trial," said Plunkett's attorney, Brent Nistler, Milwaukee.

"In my opinion it doesn't rise to the level of disorderly conduct," said Nistler, who has been a friend of Plunkett's since high school.

"This is not the first time that Plunkett has interrupted a meeting," said Student Senate President Cindy Bendix Monday. She said he has disrupted several Student Senate meetings and ad hoc meetings held to discuss a process whereby student government distributes funds to student organizations.

"The difference this time was that we were tired of him coming in and harassing us," said Bendix. "We decided that it was time to stand up to him.

Plunkett, who represents Wards 4 and 12 of the city of River Falls, was elected to the County Board in April 2006 and re-elected in 2008.

According to the Registrar's Office, Plunkett has not been a UW-RF student since spring term 2008.

For more, please see the April 29 print edition of the River Falls Journal.