Judge sentences 'monstrous' Christenson to 60 years in prison in Forest County child rape, assault caseSubmitted: 05/14/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

Judge sentences 'monstrous' Christenson to 60 years in prison in Forest County child rape, assault case
CRANDON - Judge Patrick O'Melia and Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono used the same words to describe 34-year-old Matthew Christenson on Monday.

They both said what he'd done was "the worst case [they'd] ever seen."

The Crandon man was found guilty of sexually and physically abusing several children over a span of years. On Monday, he was sentenced to 60 years in prison for his crimes.

"It was monstrous in the end," O'Melia told Christenson. "I can't risk you being out."

In one case, police say Christenson impregnated a girl, then performed a crude abortion on her. A different victim told police Christenson forced the victim into sex more than one hundred times. Still another described being beaten over and over with a switch, crescent wrench, and fire poker.

Police reports said Christenson regularly got children drunk or high before committing physical or sexual abuse.

O'Melia's sentence means Christenson's prison term will end when he is 93 years old. After that, he will be on extended supervision until age 108.

"I don't want you to see children again," O'Melia said. "I don't want you to have children available to you in the future."

Simono, who prosecuted the case, called the sentence "just" and "proper."

"It's the worst case I've ever seen," he said. "We deal with homicides [and] attempted homicides. That's one component of a very horrific crime. To violate a person through sexual assault and to do so repeatedly, I don't think it gets any worse."

Christenson's longtime fiancée, Krystal Polar, painted a different picture of the convicted felon.

"Matt is charming, thoughtful, caring, generous, and loving," she told the court. "Matt does whatever he can to make everyone happy."

Christenson's defense attorney, Andrew Morgan, acknowledged his client's downfalls.

But he also said Christenson "fulfilled his role as a contributing member of community and family."

Morgan declined an interview request.

Simono and Morgan had agreed to a sentencing recommendation that would have put Christenson in prison for 15 years and on extended supervision for ten years. But O'Melia made the punishment much steeper.

"This train wreck is going to have long-lasting results, all because of you," he said. "This case, Mr. Christenson, has got so many victims, you can't list them all."

The plea agreement called for Christenson to be found guilty on four counts and have seven counts dismissed but considered for sentencing. Simono explained that convicting Christenson on all 11 original counts would not likely have increased his incarceration time.

"At a certain point in time, it just becomes piling on," Simono said. "It serves no legitimate sentencing factor for the court."

Simono also said he wanted to avoid having to put the victims through the stress of a trial. Five of the six victims were in court on Monday.

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THREE LAKES - After 30 years, Dr. George Karling decided it's time to retire as the Three Lakes District Administrator.

He plans to leave after the school year ends, but the school board is already preparing to find his replacement.

Early next month, the Three Lakes School District will host two input sessions for the public.

Three Lakes residents can go to give their opinions on what they want in a replacement. 

Karling's decision to retire comes about a month after he faced criticism for allowing the district to be featured in a campaign ad for Gov. Scott Walker. 

People who can't make it can still send their thoughts to the Three Lakes Board of Education. People can submit comments by writing to:

Board of Education, Three Lakes School District
6930 West School St. 
Three Lakes, WI 54562 

or email: tr@threelakessd.k12.us.

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RHINELANDER - Kids ran throughout the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander on Saturday for the third annual Harvest Hoedown.

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RHINELANDER - A house fire in Rhinelander left one man dead Friday.

Emergency responders got the call around 7:30 p.m. for a home near Hodag Park.

Steve Smith heard a dispatch call over his step-sons radio about the fire at his neighbor's home on Rose Street.

"We walked out the front door and it was plain as day," said Smith. "The flames were rolling out of the front window."

At first, Smith wasn't sure if anyone was in the home. "There was a man they brought out," said Smith. "unfortunately, I heard he was deceased,"

Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier confirmed the victim was found dead on the scene.

"Life saving measures were done by the paramedics. Unfortunately, the male had passed away," said Gauthier. "At this point, it appears that it was due to something left on the stove."

Gauthier says more details about the victim will be released on Monday. 

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A 16-year-old girl is missing from Sawyer County according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Angel Marie Simonson is reported as an endangered missing person. She is a white female, 5'7", and 220 lbs. 

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WOODRUFF - Ascension Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transport hosted a fun-filled day for family and friends on Saturday.

This comes about five months after one of its helicopters crashed, killing three Spirit employees.

Regional manager Charles Kotke said those men were in mind today,

"Today is a day of bringing people together, as well as a celebration of our 25 year anniversary," said Kotke. "This team did an amazing job getting us back to caring for our patients and doing what we need to do to care of our community."

Flight paramedics showed off the aircrafts to people and the helicopter was a big hit.

"They definitely like to look at the aircrafts. See how we transport patients from point A to point B," said Northern Region Supervisor Ryan Short.

Next Saturday, Spirit is celebrating with more associates. The second part of the celebration will be in Stevens Point.

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