Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper has repeatedly refused to say whether she is seeking to waive a 14-year-old boy into adult court who is accused of carjacking and sexually assaulting an 87-year-old female at knifepoint while she was returning books to the Waukesha Public Library.
In addition, Waukesha County Children’s Court Judge Maria Lazar issued an order denying Wisconsin Right Now’s request to review the file, including any waiver petition.
It all amounts to a clampdown on information, leaving the public completely in the dark about how the system is handling the teenager’s case.
In contrast, when a 15-year-old boy was accused of a mass shooting at Mayfair Mall, the media extensively reported on a petition to waive him into adult court, the hearing in which it was denied, and then an appellate court ruling reversing that.
The media widely reported on the two girls charged in the Slender Man case, even though they were only 12 at the time because they were initially charged in adult court.
In the Waukesha case? There is a wall of silence.
The suspect is the nephew of Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson.
The attack started at the library, located at 321 Wisconsin Avenue, last November shortly after the Waukesha parade massacre.
WRN knows the identity of the teenager; however, we will not publish the name until we can confirm he has been charged as an adult, if ever. It is yet to be seen whether he will be charged as an adult; nothing comes up in CCAP under his name.
On Dec. 8, we asked Sue Opper whether she plans to charge the teenager as an adult, as the law allows. She responded, “I cannot comment on this case. Please contact the Juvenile Court for permission to obtain any charging documents or petitions that have been filed.”
Sue Opper’s Response
Per Chap. 938, Wis. Stats. the District Attorney can petition the juvenile court to waive its jurisdiction and have the child tried in adult court if the juvenile is at least 14 years old and is alleged to have committed felony murder, reckless homicide, sexual assault, hostage-taking, kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated burglary, manufacturing or distribution of a controlled substance, or participation in gang activity.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice advises that exceptions exist allowing the release of juvenile records. It’s up to the judge.
We wrote Lazar: “This case is of enormous public interest. We have received multiple requests from members of the Waukesha community who are requesting updates in the interest of public safety. Thus, we would request access to the file, including any waiver petitions.”
Lazar responded in an order denying our request. “Under Wisconsin law, there is a clear legislative mandate of confidentiality for juvenile court records,” she wrote. You can see her letter in full at the end of this article. She wrote that the law requires that disclosure be treated as an exception while quoting case law that indicates it’s a “discretionary determination” by the judge and acknowledging “there are some exceptions to confidentiality under the states.”
Lazar indicated that the Juvenile Court must consider six factors before releasing information, including the type of information being sought, and so on. She said the exceptions are “more apt when the requester is seeking to use the information in another legal action.”
The court in a relevant case emphasized that the “child’s best interests are of paramount importance,” Lazar wrote. Lazar also cited Marsy’s law in denying the request.
Waukesha police were initially extremely tight-lipped about the incident, saying the community doesn’t need “more bad news.” We learned about the incident from a source.
A person who saw what happened told WRN that the suspect “walked up to the book drop. As soon as she stopped at the book drop, he turned. He was at her car window for about a minute. He made her get into the passenger seat.” He was alone. People had seen the teen walking around the area for about a week, the source, who did not want to be identified, told WRN.
Sources tell WRN that the suspect took the woman at knifepoint from the book return area of the library on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, and forced her back to her car. The suspect drove around while forcing the woman to perform sex acts on him.
One of our sources claimed some in the system are worried about “BLM outrage” if the boy, who is black, is charged as an adult. However, we’ve also learned that Waukesha police want him charged as an adult. That decision will ultimately be made by Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper’s office.
The Les Paul Middle School resource officer observed the elderly woman in distress in the parking lot and went out to talk with her. The woman was trying to wave down the officer’s empty squad. The school is located at 325 Carroll Street. We first received a tip about the attack from a person who didn’t believe the school was very transparent with parents about what exactly happened.
The suspect was located by police in the victim’s car a short time later and was taken into custody.
After WRN broke the story, Waukesha Police Captain Dan Baumann issued the following statement:
On Tuesday November 30th at 1:32pm Waukesha Police met with an 87-year-old female at the book drop at the Waukesha Public Library who stated she was “robbed and someone took her car”. We were able to obtain a vehicle description from the victim. Officers were able to locate the vehicle a short time later and in the vicinity of the stolen vehicle, a person of interest matching the description of the suspect began to run from officers. During the foot pursuit the School Resource Officer at Les Paul Middle School out of an abundance of precaution temporarily placed the school on lockdown. The lockdown was lifted after a few minutes. Officers were able to take that person into custody without further incident.
Once the suspect was back at the police department, we learned that this individual’s age was 14 years old. The victim was able to provide more details that went beyond the initial robbery complaint. Information was revealed that the 14-year-old male suspect had used a knife to steal the victim’s vehicle. The suspect forced the victim inside the vehicle and sexually assaulted the victim.
This incident is sad and incomprehensible, but we are bound by the constitutional protections of crime victims. We are also mindful of the statutory protections of juvenile offenders. The threat was mitigated, and the juvenile has been in a detention facility since the arrest. This case has been referred to the District Attorney’s Office. We are aware there is a referral being made to the courts for this case to be waived to adult court. Should this case be waived and fall under the jurisdiction of the adult court system, we are aware some of the protection relative to juvenile offenders will not apply. It is at that time we would be better suited to respond to inquiries relative to this incident.