MADISON (NBC 26) — Governor Tony Evers signed "Ethan's Law" Thursday - a response to a tragic case in Northeast Wisconsin.
The bill is named after Ethan Hauschultz, a 7-year-old Manitowoc boy. A statement from the Governor says Ethan was fatally beaten in 2018 after having been placed in the home of a distant relative in Manitowoc County.
The bill was proposed by State Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere), and State Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc). According to a joint statement from the state lawmakers, due to neglect at home, Ethan and his two siblings were placed with a great uncle who had been found guilty of felony child abuse in 2009. But because of a plea bargain, his record showed the conviction as disorderly conduct, a non-violent misdemeanor.
Under the new law, human services workers could not place a child with any adult who had been found guilty of abusing a child, entered a plea of “no contest" to a child abuse charge, or plea-bargained that crime down to a lesser offense.
The new law also aims at prohibiting licensed entities from employing or housing any person or employee that has been charged with certain crimes against a child.
Timothy Hauschultz, Tina McKeever-Hauschultz, and Timothy's teenage son all faced criminal charges in Ethan's death. Online court records show a trial for Timothy Hauschultz is scheduled for December. Online court records also show Tina McKeever-Hauschultz entered no-contest pleas for charges related to Ethan’s death in March. Timothy's teenage son, according to records, entered a guilty plea in June and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for September.