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A La Crosse man faces life in prison after he was charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree child sexual assault with a person under the age of 13 as a persistent repeater in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

Keith F. Walling, 35, was arrested last week after an 8-year-old 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.”

Walling was interviewed by investigators Friday and denied any contact between him and the child.

Keith Walling

Walling

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.

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Walling remains jailed on a $10,000 cash bond set by Judge Gloria Doyle and will return to court Sept. 30 for a preliminary hearing.

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 That probation was revoked twice due to violating conditions, and he spent a total of eight years incarcerated.


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

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Reporter

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.