A La Crosse man charged with repeatedly raping two children pleaded not guilty Thursday after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing.
David H. Costin, 36, also had his bond lowered to $20,000 cash from $50,000 cash in La Crosse County Circuit Court.
Costin’s attorney Chris Doerfler asked Judge J. David Rice to consider lowering the bond to $2,500 or $5,000 cash, saying a recent evaluation found he was a low risk to not appear in court.
“He has lived in this area for his entire life. He’s had no criminal history since he was 17 years old, about 20 years ago,” Doerfler said.
Doerfler noted that Costin had a place to stay with a relative in Winona, Minn., and would agree to GPS monitoring from Justice Support Services.
“It would be away from the victims in this case, and that would help with the no contact,” Doerfler said.
Doerfler also said it was hard to work with Costin on his defense while he was in the jail, due to Costin’s fears for his personal safety.
Assistant district attorney Brittney Wagner objected to Doerfler’s request, saying Costin was housed away from the general population. Wagner added that the $50,000 cash bond was warranted due to the severity of the incident and a previous threat to the victim.
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Rice called the complaint “shocking” and said he was concerned that Costin had a previous child sexual assault conviction and the allegations were of repeated sexual assault.
“It gives me concerns about you being a flight risk, and it gives me concerns about public safety, but I’m also required to set a reasonable bond in a case like this,” Rice said. “I’m going to reduce your bond to $20,000 cash. I don’t know whether you can pay that or not.”
Rice also found probable cause to bind Costin for trial in the case based on the criminal complaint filed Aug. 14. In the complaint, Costin is accused of raping the two children repeatedly, including the night of Aug. 8.
“I want him to go to jail forever. I don’t want to see him,” one child said.
The other child said Costin threatened to “sexually assault (him or her) even harder next time,” if the crime was reported, according to the complaint.
Costin was charged in August with two counts each of incest and repeated sexual assault of a child as a persistent repeater, which carries a required sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or extended supervision. He was also charged with felony intimidation of a victim and misdemeanor bail jumping.
He was convicted in 2001 of sexual assault of a child after having sexual contact with a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old when he was 17.
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