RHINELANDER - A Minocqua man faces a first-degree child sexual assault charge after the victim reported the crime to police years later.
Prosecutors charged John D. Aversano, 31, with the felony Monday in Oneida County court.
According to the criminal complaint, the victim reported the assault from six years prior to family members after learning about inappropriate touching in school. The family called Minocqua police March 4. (Newswatch 12 is working to learn more about the seven-week period between police being contacted and charges being brought. This story will be updated.)
Police set up an interview between the victim and a person specially trained in child sexual assaults, which the family agreed to. The child understood the difference between truth and a lie and agreed to tell the truth to the interviewer. The victim detailed Aversano molesting and forcing the victim to touch his genitals.
The victim, who was under the age of 10 at the time of the assault, explained, "I felt like it was killing me inside to not tell anyone."
Monday, Judge Patrick O'Melia set a $30,000 cash bond and ordered Aversano have no contact with the victim or the victim's family.
Assistant District Attorney Mary Sowinski asked for the bond to be sealed, which the DA's office explained to Newswatch 12 is done to protect the victim's identity.
Aversano faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted. He is due back in court April 25.
Tri-County Council Executive Director Shellie Holmes told Newswatch 12 on Tuesday afternoon she's glad the victim was able to come forward. Holmes encourages anyone who may also be a victim to contact her office.
"If someone has been dealing with something for a long time, we certainly will honor the wishes of a victim [in regards to reporting an assault to police,]" Holmes said. "They may not be ready... But we're there to guide them."
You can call the Tri-County Council at its 24/7 helpline at 1-800-236-1222.