Two months ago, Dr. David A. Onsrud spent a weekend in jail after being accused of sexually assaulting a child. Once released, a court order separated him from his family and his career while the La Crosse District Attorney's Office considered charges.
Tuesday, the case was dropped.
"After reviewing all the evidence in this case, including police reports, Human Services reports and all other relevant materials, we feel there is insufficient evidence to support a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt," Assistant District Attorney Tim Gruenke said in a prepared statement.
Onsrud did not comment. But his attorney, Keith Belzer, said the doctor is relieved.
"Two months ago, an innocent man was falsely accused of a very serious crime," said Belzer. "Dr. Onsrud was, quite frankly, shocked then frightened, frustrated and angry at the accusations. He found the process to be difficult, to say the least, but through it all he remained confident the truth would come out, which, in the end, it did."
Onsrud, 48, of Onalaska has been a family practice physician at Franciscan Skemp Healthcare since 1985. He's been off the job since his arrest, but is expected to go back to work soon, according to a hospital press release.
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Gruenke said the allegations did not involve any of Onsrud's patients, and the "affected parties" are being addressed in other forums.
Onsrud was arrested by La Crosse police Sept. 5 and was released from jail following a bond hearing three days later. He was ordered to have no contact with his or any other children and was told to come back in a week to be charged. However, that hearing was delayed and the case continued to be pushed back until Tuesday's court action when it was dropped.
"The delay was extremely difficult on Dr. Onsrud, but is obviously better than having the DA charge someone who is innocent because they didn't want to take the time they needed to investigate," said Belzer, who added that Onsrud is thankful to Gruenke for investigating the accusations fully.
"This whole situation is extremely frightening when someone with the reputation Dr. Onsrud has could so early be hauled into court with these kinds of allegations," Belzer said. "I would hope in the future that this type of investigation would take place before someone is arrested and dragged into court based on such accusations."
Gruenke defended the way Onsrud's case was handled. La Crosse police made an arrest based on probable cause, he said, and after a thorough investigation it was determined charges should not be filed.
"I don't think this case was any different than many others. I think the only mistake I made was I should have continued it for two months instead of a week. I should have known it was going to take more than a week to finish the investigation," Gruenke said.