Sexual assault victim advocate responds to Tuesday's state Supreme Court rulingSubmitted: 07/22/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson

RHINELANDER - The state Supreme Court made a ruling Tuesday that could impact what evidence can be used in rape cases.

It reversed the decision of a state appeals court in a 2011 case.

A defendant argued evidence of a previous consensual relationship with the victim should be allowed in court.

But the Supreme Court said evidence of a previous relationship falls under the state's rape shield law.

"The sexual assault victim is protected from any of her past being brought in that would disproportionately sway the jury like, 'Oh, well, that must have been it. It must have been what she was wearing,' or they might not approve that she had multiple partners, things like that," said Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault executive director Shellie Holmes.

She believes this is a good reminder to victims that they are protected and can come forward even when they're frightened.

"Sexual assault victims are rightfully traumatized, frightened, they don't know what type of response they will get from any of the systems that they may go to. The main question is: 'Will I be believed?'" Holmes explained. "And so what this decision does is that it says to victims, 'Yes, we are still upholding your rights and it is important that you come forward.'"

Tri-County Council serves about 100 people seeking help for sexual assault issues each year.

Related Weblinks:
Tri-County Council

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Town Board always knew it would need to replace Supervisor Bryan Jennings eventually. But the Board didn't think it happen so soon.

Jennings died September 8, two days after he was struck by lightning while walking his dog.

Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim says the Town is now accepting letters of interest from anyone wanting to fill Jennings's seat.

+ Read More
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/24/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll update you on the details of a fatal car crash in the Town of Stella that took the life of a teenager late Saturday night.

This year marks the third highest bear harvest in state history. But it also marked the highest number of hunting dog deaths. No one knows for sure why, but we'll tell you about some possible reasons.

And the Elcho-White Lake High School football team agreed to play an 8-man football game against a nearby high school's team. We'll tell you how it's helping out the nearby team.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - We likely won't find out who Rhinelander's next police chief will be until early next year.  But the city is already working to replace Chief Mike Steffes.

Newswatch 12 learned earlier this month Chief Steffes is leaving Rhinelander to take a job with the Department of Justice.

Steffes beat out 34 other candidates to win the chief job in 2007.  Police and Fire Commission President Todd McEldowney expects to see dozens of new applicants this time.

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - The Merrill Fire Department sees the need for more, younger EMTs to get into the business. Like other area departments, it wants to ensure its staff will stay strong for years into the future.

People like Dylan Schielke can help make that happen.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A Marathon County man who drove to Rhinelander to meet up with a 15-year-old girl for sex told police he nearly turned around.

Instead, Dustin Zernicke pulled into the Shopko parking lot Friday night and found officers waiting for him.

The 35-year-old Zernicke made his initial appearance in Oneida County Court Monday afternoon.  Undercover officers posted an ad on Craigslist pretending to be a 15-year-old girl.  The post said "Mom sent me [to] Rhinelander for the weekend and I have nothing to do."

+ Read More

EAGLE RIVER - Many of us already put out the scary decorations and pumpkins for some Halloween spirit. But if you're looking to take it up a notch, dress like a zombie and grab your running shoes this Saturday.

+ Read More

Play Video

WISCONSIN - This year marks the third highest bear harvest in state history.

The totals cement Wisconsin's title as the best state in the U.S. for bear harvests with 4,643 registered.

But it wasn't all good news for bear hunters. 

This year also marked the highest number of hunting dog deaths.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here