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La Crosse man accused of molesting child returns to court Wednesday

La Crosse man accused of molesting child returns to court Wednesday

From the What you missed this week in notable La Crosse crimes and court cases series
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A La Crosse man accused of inappropriately touching an 8-year-old will be back in court Wednesday after his attorney objected to the complaint failing to include a time period of the alleged abuse.

Keith F. Walling, 35, was charged in September with two counts of first-degree child sexual assault after the child reported that he initiated genital contact twice, once on the child’s bed and another time in the living room, according to the complaint.

The child told investigators that the child didn’t want to be around Walling and said what he did was “disgusting.”

Keith Walling

Walling

Walling’s attorney, Jeremiah Meyer-O’Day, objected Monday to Walling being bound over for trial, arguing that neither the complaint nor the testimony of Investigator Andrew Rosenow during Monday’s preliminary hearing gave a specific time period when the incidents occurred.

“I understand that the law is flexible regarding that in these kinds of cases; however, we identified any time when this happened, and I don’t believe the complaint or the preliminary hearing record is sufficient to support bind over on that basis,” Meyer-O’Day said.

Prosecutor Eric Sanford said the victim gave law enforcement a time frame for the incidents, despite not knowing the specific dates.

Judge Scott Horne said a specific date was not required by the law, but a time frame was necessary. He gave Sanford 72 hours to add the date and continued the hearing to 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Horne ordered Walling held for three days on a $10,000 cash bond, denying Meyer-O’Day’s request for a signature bond.

According to the complaint, Walling initially said there wouldn’t be any of his semen on the child’s bed unless transferred there in the laundry. When investigators mentioned testing the bedding at the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, he changed his story, saying he had consensual intercourse with a woman on the child’s bed while the child wasn’t home.

When asked by investigators why that would be the case, Walling said, “It was the heat of the moment,” according to the complaint. Investigators also asked what the woman would say to that, and Walling replied, “If she remembers it,” according to the report.

Police say preliminary testing showed evidence of semen on the child’s bedding.

If convicted on either of the two charges, Walling faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole or extended supervision, due to his previous conviction of a serious child sex offense.

Walling pleaded guilty in 2005 to second-degree child sexual assault, admitting to molesting a 5-year-old when he was 20. He was sentenced to five years in prison and six years on probation. That probation was revoked twice due to violating conditions, and he spent a total of eight years incarcerated.


Jourdan Vian can be reached at jvian@lacrossetribune.com or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.

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Jourdan Vian is a reporter and columnist covering crime and courts for the La Crosse Tribune. You can contact her at 608-791-8218 or jvian@lacrossetribune.com.

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