Former Sheboygan mayor sentenced in sexual assault case

CREATED Feb. 20, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - His troubles have gone on for years. Now, the embattled former mayor of Sheboygan has been sentenced.

As expected, the former mayor will not spend a day in jail, only having to pay fines for touching a woman during a drinking binge two years ago.

A judge ended a chapter in Bob Ryan's life that the former mayor hoped he'd never write.

"If things went down the way that it was described, I know other people would have felt the same outrage,” said the Hon. Terense Bourke, the circuit court judge on the case. “It's not hard to imagine someone taking Mr. Ryan, bringing him out of the bar and punching him in the nose."

Ryan is now guilty of two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and must pay $200. A woman told police Ryan squeezed her breasts twice during a now infamous weekend of binge drinking in Elkhart Lake.

A victim's advocate read a statement of the woman - who was too embarrassed to go to court.

"I feel a sense -- a small sense of peace and closure now that it is over, and I know some sense of justice has been made."

The former mayor, who has kept quiet since losing his job last year, told reporters he took a plea deal to avoid media scrutiny. While he admits to being drunk, he denies doing anything illegal.

"I was not looking forward to people making false accusations on the stand,” he said. “I was not looking forward to putting my family through that."

Ryan's alcohol-fueled antics have subsided. He said he's battling his alcoholism, and hopes to move on with his life.

"I attend regular meetings,” he said. “One thing nice with not being a public official is now my private life is private, and I intend to keep it that way."

Ryan has not taken a job since losing a recall election last year. Now that he has avoided being convicted of sexual assault, he'd like to move on and stay out of politics for good.