A Milwaukee family says it's outraged after seeing a political advertisement on TV that they say identifies child victims of sexual assault.
The ad airing on local TV stations across the state targets Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet, who is running against Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The ad focuses on a 2011 sentencing case where Dallet gave the defendant two years in prison. The ad claims the maximum prison term she could have handed down was 20 years.
The defendant in the case pleaded guilty to attempted first degree sexual assault of a child. A second charge of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl was dismissed.
The family of the victims in the case says the ad uses specific details that identify the young victims.
"They are putting our name out there without even realizing what kind of damage they're doing," said one of the family members, who asked that we conceal her identity.
She says she first saw the ad on Friday.
"It kind of blew me away," she said. "Of course I was upset, angry, I cried."
On Monday, she says she called the organization that paid for the ad, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce - Issues Mobilization Council. She claims they were not receptive to her wishes that the ad stop airing.
The ad is not affiliated with Dallet's or Screnock's campaign. We reached out to both campaigns for comment but did not receive a response.
The WMC IMC responded in a statement saying the ad "merely repeats publicly available information from public records and information."
The family says the victims were not outed until the ad started airing.
"I can't have my family being put through that, it's too much," she said. "It's shameful, it's hurtful and I just need these ads to be taken down all together."
TV stations approve third party political ads, meaning the ads candidates didn't pay for. The FCC does not allow TV stations to censor political ads unless it breaks the law and in this case, the ad is factual and legal.
Here is the full statement from the WMC IMC regarding the ad:
“Through its grassroots lobbying communications, WMC Issues Mobilization Council is commenting on public issues that are being discussed in our state and participating in this public debate on criminal sentencing.
To advance WMC IMC’s point of view on this issue, this particular communication merely repeats publicly available information from public records and information that has already been reported on by several news organizations. In fact, the state’s largest newspaper reported on Judge Dallet’s light sentence in this case earlier this year.
WMC IMC believes it is important for the public to be aware of Judge Dallet’s repeated instances of giving light sentences to criminals who abuse children.”