Wisconsin man accused of habitually of sexually assaulting horses

The suspect's lawyer is moving to dismiss charges
Posted at 10:53 PM, May 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-16 23:53:54-04

A man with a long history of abusing horses in Eastern Wisconsin is trying to get the newest case against him thrown out. 

Sterling Rachwal is accused of sexually abusing a horse in Brown County. Though his lawyer said in court Tuesday he should not be facing any charges.

Back in February, Brown County Sheriff's deputies responded to a ranch for a suspicious person.

Court records say when they arrived they discovered something much more disturbing.

The owner found a horse tied in the stall, wearing a harness that was not his and was "bleeding and there were signs of sexual abuse"

It's a story a Fond Du Lac woman knows all too well.

"Deja Vu all over again," said Cindy Heuer.

Seven years ago, right before bedtime, Heuer's neighbor ran up to their house yelling to call 911. He found someone in her barn with one of the horses.

"The guy had a baseball cap on with one of those little clip on lights and latex surgical gloves and he said, 'I wasn't doing anything, I wasn't doing anything’," Heuer said.

Rachwal plead no contest to disorderly conduct in that case. The charge was a misdemeanor. They never knew exactly what happened to the horse but it nearly died.

"I don't know what he did," Heuer said. "I don't know if he drugged him or what but the horse stood for him."

In the 1990s, there was at least three different cases where he was caught abusing a horse. He either pleaded no contest or was found not guilty by mental defect and sent for mental health treatment.  

"How could somebody do this to these poor animals," Heuer said.

In this case, Rachwal is facing charges for mistreatment of an animal in February.  

"I don't know that it alleges the defendant committed acts one and two,” said defense attorney Shannon Viel referring to the criminal complaint against Rachwal. "Essentially I will move to dismiss the complaint."

In April,  the Brown County Sheriff Deputies caught him on camera with a horse.  There are no charges issued in that case. The Brown County Sheriff's Office has turned over part of that case to Manitowoc County.

Rachwal is due back in court on Friday for a motion to dismiss hearing. 


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