CRANDON - A sheriff's deputy testified Friday in the case of a 33-year-old Crandon man accused of sexually and physically victimizing six children in Forest County since 2010.
Matthew Christenson is charged with 14 felonies in the case.
Friday's evidence came from interviews the alleged victims--five sexual assault victims and one physical abuse victim--had with police and trained child advocates.
Forest County Sheriff's Captain Jeff Marvin told the court what he heard in those interviews.
Marvin said Christenson had impregnated one of his underage victims twice. Christenson took the girl, referred to as Victim 1 in Newswatch 12 stories, to New Mexico to get an abortion on the first pregnancy. Christenson performed an abortion himself the second time.
Victim 2 told interviewers about the number of times she was assaulted.
"The sexual abuse started when she was in seventh or eighth grade," Marvin said. "It involved sexual intercourse numerous times. I believe she said over a hundred times."
Christenson is accused of regularly getting children drunk or high before committing sexual or physical abuse.
"Matthew Christenson would supply the kids with alcohol and marijuana," Marvin said. "They would party."
In one case, Victim 3 said Christenson got her drunk to the point of passing out on while camping near Wabeno. That girl told investigators when she came to, he was sexually assaulting her.
"She advised that he had his hand over her mouth," Marvin said. "She advised that it was very painful."
Victim 6 told interviewers he was routinely physically assaulted by Christenson, with Christenson using things like bullwhips and fire pokers.
"He was hit in the head with a crescent wrench while he was doing dishes, which knocked him right out, cutting his head. He said he was bleeding profusely," Marvin said. "When he came to, he was made to clean the blood up off the floor."
Judge Patrick O'Melia found enough evidence to send the case forward toward a trial on Friday. Christenson pleaded not guilty to all 14 charges. If convicted, he could face up to 454 years in prison.
Christenson's attorney, Andrew Morgan, argued Friday his $75,000 bond should be lowered.
"He has shown that he is not a danger to anybody and is not a flight risk," Morgan said.
Morgan said Christenson plans to maintain his innocence.
Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono strongly objected to bond being lowered, and O'Melia agreed.
"Frankly, $75,000 is low," said O'Melia. "There's a strong flight risk here."
Christenson will stay in the Forest County Jail until his next court date, which has yet to be set.
Read the original story on Christenson's charges by clicking the link below.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group working to maintain recreational trails in the area got some help in their mission. The Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association received grants to help fund its various projects.
The group got two DNR Recreational Trail Act Grants totaled at a little more than $13,000. The WPS Foundation also gave a total of $1,800 in grants. The grant money will be used to help with multiple projects.
One project is to construct a boardwalk over the wetlands of the Cassian Cross County Ski Trail. RASTA is also going to construct a new ski trail at Washburn.
For more information on all of RASTA's projects, visit their Facebook page lined below.
FLORENCE COUNTY - Two high school students died in a car crash early Friday morning in Florence County. The wreck happened at around 6:20 a.m. according to the Florence County Sheriff's Office.
The vehicle was traveling north on County Highway N in the Commonwealth Township, when the driver lost control while making a turn. The vehicle crossed the center line, left the roadway, and hit a tree, bursting into flames upon impact.
The names and ages of the Florence High School students will be released after notifications are made.
MINOCQUA - Owners of wooden boats describe them as labors of love.
"If you're going to own a boat like this, you have to have a commitment," said boat owner Marc Toigo. "It's not optional."
It's the kind of commitment Gordon Moore had when he helped start the Minocqua Antique Wooden & Classic Boat Show 26 years ago. Moore passed away in August, making this weekend's show the first without him.
"We're going to laugh a lot, because he'd want us to," said show organizer Al Hanley. "(Moore) had a great sense of humor, he was a truly unique individual."
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