A La Crosse man who sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl was sentenced Thursday to three years imprisonment.
Jeremy Wrencher, 22, argued the encounter was consensual, although the victim is not enough old enough to give consent.
“Any sexual contact with an underage person is sexual assault,” La Crosse County Circuit Judge Scott Horne said.
The victim told police Wrencher raped her Aug. 23, 2016, at his house despite her protests to stop. She said Wrencher raped her a second time while his brother held her at gunpoint and forced her to perform oral sex, according to the complaint.
Prosecutors dismissed a sexual assault charge against Wrencher’s brother. Wrencher pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of felony third-degree sexual assault because of “proof issues” and the victim’s ability to undergo a trial, prosecutors said. She did not attend Thursday’s hearing.
District Attorney Tim Gruenke argued Wrencher serve time in prison, citing his failed attempts at community supervision and escalating criminal history.
“He appears to be someone who is somewhat predatory,” he said.
Weeks before the assault, Circuit Judge Ramona Gonzalez sentenced Wrencher to one year on probation for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 2015.
Prosecutors charged him with sexual assault of a child younger than 16, and he pleaded guilty to a reduced fourth-degree sexual assault charge. His probation was revoked, and he was sentenced to nine months in jail.
Defense attorney Christopher Dyer argued for a stayed prison sentence to allow Wrencher, who he said is cognitively undeveloped, to access mental health treatment in the community with the support of his family. Wrencher receives credit for 407 days served in jail while his case was pending and also will spend four years on extended supervision.
“I didn’t really mean to get myself in trouble,” Wrencher said in taking responsibility for the sexual contact.
At 22 years old, Wrencher is still young enough to choose a different path that doesn’t including controlling and exploiting girls, Horne said.
“But today there needs to be accountability,” he said.