Former Fox Lake Police Chief found guilty of reduced charges and fined
JUNEAU – A 2016 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision weighed heavily in the case against former Fox Lake Police Chief Patrick Lynch, who accepted a plea agreement which reduced his felony charges to four misdemeanors.
Lynch was found guilty by Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Martin De Vries Monday to two misdemeanor counts of attempted stalking and two misdemeanor counts of misconduct in office. Lynch, who did not make a statement during the sentencing, entered no contest pleas to the charges. He was fined $4,000 and agreed to a four-year harassment injunction where he would be immediately arrested if he contacted the victims in the case.
Lynch was originally charged with felony counts including: three counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child and three counts of stalking. The sexual assault of a child and one of the stalking charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning it is possible that the case could be tried again.
Lynch, 63, still resides in Fox Lake. He resigned from the Fox Lake Police Department in February 2009 after serving for 14 years as chief.
The victim, known by the court as Victim A, said the assaults occurred in 1989 in her family home when she was 7. One of the stalking charges pertains to the same victim.
Victim A spoke in court. She said she avoids Fox Lake and stores where Lynch might be so she will not run into him.
“It’s an open wound for 10 years because of the justice system,” Victim A said. “He’ll never get the justice that I think he deserves.”
Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Shelly Rusch said it is a resolution of an extremely long and painful case for the victim.
The case originally appeared before circuit court Judge Andrew Bissonnette in 2010. In a pre-trial motion, the defense requested a review of the mental health treatment and counseling records of Victim A. The circuit court found that Lynch demonstrated there was a reasonable likelihood the information enclosed in the privileged records is necessary for a fair trial.
Victim A refused to release her records until a decision was made by a higher court. The court of appeals upheld the decision made by the circuit court that her records would be necessary for a fair trial in 2012 and the woman appealed to the State Supreme Court. The State Supreme Court split on the issue, so the decision reached by the court of appeals was upheld.
With that decision six more years of Victim A’s mental health records were at risk if she had chosen to testify during a trial, Rusch said Monday.
“This has been an extremely excruciating process for Victim A,” Rusch said.
The other two original stalking charges related to incidents that happened in two additional people, Rusch said. The first was a man who had dated Lynch’s ex-wife and the second was a former employee of the Fox Lake Police Department.
“The healing process can begin with this,” Lynch’s attorney Christopher Van Wagner said.
De Vries said that the even though the sexual assaults were not what Lynch entered pleas to in the case, the facts related to them and the attempted stalking charges showed a severity of the offense.
“The victim lived her life in fear,” De Vries said.
De Vries sentence went with the plea agreement signed by the defense and prosecution agreeing to the $1,000 fine per offense.