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Victim of Elmbrook sexual assault shares story

Posted at 6:51 PM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-09 19:55:07-04

Carri Zarske has been living with the emotional pain and trauma of a sexual assault that occurred three decades ago. She said she was sexually assaulted by a gym teacher name Gary Blaschke from 1982-1986 while she was in middle high school.

Carri said the assaults started slowly as back rubs and then continued to escalate. She said at one point a teacher knew about the assaults, but instead, Carri got in trouble for the allegations.

"Instead of trying to get a superintendent or the principal to get involved, it would have stopped but it continued and I think it gave him more power to continue to do and do more to me," said Carri.

Carri said the assaults lead her down a path with serious consequences. She began drinking to cope with the pain, and before she graduated high school she had a DUI.

She is now seeking therapy and as part of her healing, she sent an email to Blaschke confronting him about the assaults. She said when Blaschke responded with his Elmbrook email address she became concerned and contacted the district.

Elmbrook Schools notified police on April 1 and conducted their own investigation where they were able to recover the emails Blaschke sent to Carri, admitting of wrongdoing.

In a statement Superintendent Mark Hansen said, "The evidence available now shows that the facts are not in dispute. I am sickened by these facts and to the victim, I express our sincere apologies because our organization failed you. Anytime we receive allegations of physical or sexual assault we will drop everything and begin an immediate investigation."

Carri said she found the strength to come forward through the support of her friends, and the #MeToo movement. She hopes other potential victims will find the strength to do the same.

"These people need to be held accountable, and if they prey on the children they shouldn’t be teaching them," she said. "Those children look up to them as mentors and guiding them to have a healthy and safe life and I certainly did not have that."

The Elmbrook School District is asking anyone with additional information or who was potentially harmed by Blaschke to contact Hansen at 262-373-6606, or the Brookfield Police Department 262-787-3614.