Sheboygan County DA explains delay in charges against Bob Ryan

CREATED Apr. 9, 2012 - UPDATED: Apr. 9, 2012

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SHEBOYGAN- Sheboygan County's district attorney is explaining why it took nearly nine months to charge former Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan with sexual assault.

Sheboygan District Attorney Joe DeCecco told Wisconsin's Afternoon News these alleged crimes, two counts of fourth degree sexual assault are Class A misdemeanors and could result in up to $20,000 in fines and 18 months in jail.

DeCecco said there were a couple of reasons for the delay in charges.  DeCecco pointed out that an arrest or a misdemeanor citation wasn't given to Bob Ryan at the time of the incident -- July 2011.  Additionally, the alleged victim had told Elkhart Lake police she wanted to report the sexual assault right away, but put off a written statement on the event due to media attention surrounding the case.

DeCecco said the case died down a bit until special prosecutor Steven Biskupic agreed to investigate those sexual assault claims in September 2011.  After discovering the alleged victim in his investigation, Biskupic told DeCecco about what he found.  DeCecco then handed the case over the Sheboygan County sheriff's office to investigate, but since a couple members in the sheriff's office were alderman, they argued a conflict of interest and the case was handed over to Fond du Lac detectives in December 2011.

DeCecco said after the detectives found cause for charges and since there was no initial arrest or citation given to Bob Ryan, DeCecco would focus his time on more serious crimes.

DeCecco told Wisconsin's Afternoon News he doesn't want this case to go to trial.  "Hopefully we can reach some resolution that would satisfy the alleged victim and former Mayor Ryan as well," said DeCecco

He wouldn't comment on his specific discussion he had with Bob Ryan, but referred to what was listed in the criminal complaint, which claims Mr. Ryan denied the alleged sexual assaults.

DeCecco believes that intoxicated or not, Mr. Ryan, grabbed the alleged victim inappropriately.

Meanwhile, Mary Ryan is coming to her husband's, Bob Ryan's, defense after he has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman at a bar last July. 

Mary Ryan told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure that "(Bob Ryan's) biggest crime was getting drunk," although the Sheboygan County district attorney's office doesn't believe that was the case.

Mrs. Ryan believes no one has a perfect life and that Mr. Ryan has a disease, but is a good man, good father and is now sober.  John notes that Mrs. Ryan sounded embarrassed when discussing the allegations surrounding Mr. Ryan.

She and her two kids have stood by Mr. Ryan during this alleged incident and his subsequent recall as Sheboygan's mayor.

Bob Ryan has an initial court appearance set for April 23.