Crandon man charged with raping five underage victims; Christenson accused of impregnating, forcing abortion on oneSubmitted: 04/20/2017
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

Crandon man charged with raping five underage victims; Christenson accused of impregnating, forcing abortion on one
CRANDON - A Crandon man is accused of impregnating an underage girl, then performing a crude abortion on her.

The criminal complaint also says Matthew Christenson, 33, has sexually assaulted five different children in Forest County since 2010, and brutally beaten at least one more.

Multiple victims said Christenson gave them alcohol and marijuana during his interactions with them.

Newswatch 12 is concealing the identities, ages, and any potential relationship of the alleged victims to the defendant, using only numbers for identification.

Victim 1 told Forest County Sheriff's Captain Jeff Marvin that Christenson impregnated her. Then, according to the criminal complaint, Christenson attempted to give her an abortion himself.  Newswatch 12 is leaving out the details of that act.

Victim 2, another child, lost count of the times Christenson had sex with that same victim.

"[Victim 2 told investigators] that it was so many times [the victim] did not even know but it was over one hundred times," says the complaint.

One victim told of threats by Christenson.

"The defendant told them that if they told anyone he would find them when he got out of jail," says the complaint.

Victim 3 reported being raped on a picnic table while camping near Wabeno. Victim 4, according to the complaint, would "say no [to sex] but [Christenson] would slap [the victim] in the face." Victim 2 told investigators, "[Christenson] would tell [Victim 5] that he wanted [the victim] to be his [spouse]."

All five victims were minors at the time of the alleged crimes.

A sixth child, Victim 6, was hit daily by Christenson, according to a different victim. Victim 6 told investigators Christenson used a switch, canoe paddle, wooden stick, bull whip, crescent wrench, and fire poker at different times in the abuse.

Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono filed an amended criminal complaint in court on Wednesday.

Christenson is now charged with 14 felony counts, including sexual assault and physical abuse charges. The maximum penalty if convicted on all charges is 454 years in prison.

Christenson is in the Forest County Jail on $75,000 cash bond. He will return to court on May 3.

This story has been updated from its original version.

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WAUSAU - When you think of Wisconsin, two things might come to mind - beer and snow. 

The Granite Peak Ski Area in Wausau decided to combine the two and host an annual brew fest. 

Andy Ledesma is the head brewer at Red Eye Brewing Company in Wausau. The Granite Peak Brew Fest is one of the many perks of his job.

"No other beer fest is like this, that's for sure," said Ledesma.

He definitely wasn't alone serving more than 40 beers on Saturday. 

Jeff Geurink works for South Shore Brewery in Ashland. They've been around for 20 years, but they wanted to make this brew fest a part of their line up.

"Get our name out there and make sure people are enjoying our beer and get as much information as possible out about our brewery so then when they go out and get a beer, they remember us," said Geurink.

Something everyone will remember from the brew fest was the set-up.

"Snow bar?! You can't get that in the summer time," said Roland Bruhnke.

He's right. Most beer festivals are in the summer. But when it's still feeling like winter in March, Granite Peak turns lemons into lemonade, or more appropriately, hops into beer.

"I think it definitely helped that when they get to the bottom of the hill, you see a bunch of beer," said beer salesman Jesse Bartnik.

So even though beer and physical activity isn't the best combination, dozens of people were loving it this weekend.

"The winter, the skiing, the beer, it's all one big package all rolled into one," said Bruhnke.

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RHINELANDER - This time of year, winter activies start to wind down and the summer fun hasn't quite started yet.

That's why Fisher's Resort and Bar on Lake George in Rhinelander enjoys having it's annual ice golf tournament each year.

"In year's past, March is always kind of a slower season up here in the Northwoods so we figured we'd create an event and put efforts towards a local organization," said Fisher's Resort and Bar owner, Russ Fisher.

That local organization they raise money for is the Hodag Sno-trails snowmobile club.

This year, the tournament had it's biggest turn out.

30 teams came to play, including first timer Dennis Herrmann who lives right across the lake.

"This has nothing to do with golf, I can tell you that right now. But it's a challenge for all the obvious reasons. But you do it for the charity, you do it for the fun and it gives everybody the chance to get out," said Herrmann.

This year they cut it down from 18 holes to 13 so people could get inside faster to enjoy the chili and the raffle items after their round of golf.

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PORTAGE COUNTY - Portage County will hold an information meeting to share information about a sexually violent offender that will soon be released.

Gregory Loomis, 43, sexually assaulted two children in 1988 and 1992.

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ANTIGO - "It did come as a shock at first, but it's something that you realize it's not the end of the world," said Tracie Quade. 

Quade's 18-month old son, Benny, was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was born.

"It's actually a really, really awesome thing. People with Down syndrome are wonderful loving people and they are just as capable of doing as much as anybody else," said Quade.

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CRANDON - UPDATE (3/23/18): The Forest County Medical Examiner released the name of the inmate who died in the Forest County Jail earlier this week. 

The Forest County Sheriff's Officer said a man committed suicide Wednesday morning. 

An autopsy showed 44-year-old William Zastawniak died by hanging. 

He was facing three child sexual assault charges. 

The medical examiner is still waiting on toxicology results. 

The death is still under investigation.

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EAGLE RIVER - Kids face bullying in schools all the time.

That's one reason why the Eagle River elementary school holds its annual Great Kindness Challenge Week.

It's part of a nationwide challenge involving nearly 10,000 schools.

This year's kindness week in Eagle River wrapped up Friday with a musical assembly with Dave Dall.

Throughout the week, students were challenged to do random acts of kindness.

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TOMAHAWK - Two best friends turned into business partners about a year ago.

Bill Eastwood and Blake McMahon own Outboards Bar and Grill in Tomahawk.

The duo's combined restaurant and business experience helped them hit the ground running.

Fish quality comes first at Outboards.

"Friday night is the night that pretty much everyone goes out to eat. So if you don't have a good fish fry, people around here start talking!" say Eastwood.

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