RHINELANDER - A janitor working in a Rhinelander elementary school faces felony charges for sexually assaulting a young girl at school on Tuesday.
Police say 65-year-old Stavros Iliopoulos took the girl into a dark closet and hugged, kissed, and touched her inappropriately at Northwoods Community Elementary School, a public charter school in Harshaw.
"This is a very serious situation that occurred in a school," said Oneida Co. Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook on Wednesday. "A student had reported to a teacher that there had been some inappropriate contact between herself and, obviously, Mr. Iliopoulos."
Hook's detectives talked to the victim, who said Iliopoulos asked the girl for a hug in the hallway. After she turned him down twice, he took her into a closet, kissing her, touching her skin, and reaching under her clothes with the lights off. As the girl tried to reach for the door, Iliopoulos grabbed her arm, later letting her go and telling her to keep quiet.
Iliopoulos was arrested Tuesday.
At a brief initial appearance in Oneida Co. Court on Wednesday, Iliopoulos called the accusations "not true."
In a police interview, Iliopoulos said the girl came into the closet on her own, asking about what was inside. He said he told her to get out right away.
But video evidence helped police corroborate the girl's story.
"There [are] video cameras in the schools, and we utilized that," said Oneida Co. Sheriff's Capt. Tyler Young.
Security video reviewed by police shows Iliopoulos and the girl walking toward the closet, then reappearing about five minutes later.
Iliopoulos isn't employed by the school district. Instead, he worked for Victory Janitorial, which subcontracts with the district. Iliopoulos told Judge Michael Bloom he'd worked there for about three years.
A call to a manager at Victory Janitorial wasn't returned Wednesday, but prosecutor Mary Sowinski said Iliopoulos was no longer employed.
Early Wednesday morning, Northwoods Community Elementary School Principal Alex Bontz sent parents an email, saying he couldn't share many details, but the district was addressing the situation.
"[The student's] concerns were immediately shared with law enforcement and they began an investigation. The person being investigated is not a district employee but is contracted through a company. He will not be returning to work in the district in any of our buildings," Bontz wrote.
Bloom gave Iliopoulos a $50,000 cash bond on Wednesday. He'll return to court next Tuesday. In addition to a charge of first degree sexual assault of a child, he's charged with child enticement and false imprisonment. The maximum prison term is 91 years.
Hook said the Sheriff's Office will continue its investigation.
"At this point, we're only aware of one victim, so if anybody else has any other information that they want to share with us, they should contact us," she said.
Rhinelander Superintendent Kelli Jacobi chose not to comment Wednesday afternoon.
RHINELANDER - A man died near the entrance of Nicolet College in Rhinelander on Thursday afternoon.
Neither the campus nor the public were in danger, according to the Oneida Co. Sheriff's Office. Due to the circumstances of the man's death, Newswatch 12 is not releasing more information, but there appears to be nothing suspicious about the death.
Police got a report at 3:55 p.m. about a man lying face down near the entry drive to Nicolet College. Emergency responders took him to St. Mary's Hospital, but he died.
The Oneida Co. Sheriff's Office, Rhinelander Fire Department, Pelican First Responders, and Oneida Co. Medical Examiner's Office were involved in the response.
The Oneida County Beekeepers Association promotes beekeeping in the Northwoods.
It does its part to save the bees, and wants to encourage to do the same. It works to recruit new beekeepers, as well as teach people the importance of honeybees in our everyday lives.
"Bees are essential for our food supply," said Oneida County Beekeepers Association member, John Bigley. "If we lose the bees, we lose most of the food supply. So, we got to keep them healthy. We have to ensure that they are pollinating not only the flowers, but the fruit trees and vegetable gardens."
The organization is holding a class on June 1st for anyone who is interested in learning how to become a beekeeper.
It's also an advanced class for beekeepers to learn more about bee tips and tricks.
ARBOR VITAE - Do you know where your food comes from? Kindergarteners at Arbor Vitae-Woodruff elementary do. They have been growing their own fruits and vegetables all year. On Thursday, their work culminated in a final celebration as part of the first-ever Wisconsin School Garden Day.
Each kindergartner was partnered with a fifth grader to help them with planting and weeding.
Organizer Adriane Morabito said it is important for young people to know where their food comes from.
"It teaches them important skills like empathy, compassionate, and kindness," said Morabito. "It also helps them eat healthy."
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