Eau Claire County (WQOW) - A retired Altoona police officer has been found guilty on one count of child sexual assault and not guilty on another.
News 18 was in the court room on Wednesday for day three of the trial. It was an emotional day for both sides of the courtroom and a long one. After five hours, the jury came back with a split verdict: guilty on one count and not guilty on another.
The morning consisted of almost three hours of closing arguments with both sides pulling separate ways. The prosecution opened with emotion, retelling the victim's testimony of sexual conversations she had with Anger in 2014.
Prosecuting Attorney Meri Larson read the transcripts from a forensic interview the victim had shortly after the incident:
"I felt, it just felt wrong to me. For a couple of minutes, I just laid there because I was shocked. I opened my eyes, and I didn't see anything. The only thing I saw was black and blue pants checkered. And, it really freaked me out."
The defense followed, asking the jury to consider logic, reason and prudence and to look at the case details over emotion. The defense closed by describing inconsistencies in both victim and family testimonies that took place between 2014 and now.
Defense Attorney Harry Hertel said, "If there is a reasonable explanation that takes place, that is other than the defendant having done this, or other than the issue of sexual contact actually having occurred, in either circumstance, you must find the defendant, you must find Jeffrey Anger not guilty."
The verdict came in just a few minutes before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, followed by emotion from Anger's wife and children, screaming and crying as they watched Anger being taken into custody.
During his closing arguments, Hertel made a comparison between this trial and the sexual assault trial involving Steven Avery, the verdict of which was eventually overturned. After the verdict, News 18 asked him to explain.
"If a case is solved first and the evidence is gathered second based on a conclusion that's already in place, that Jeff did this, they don't look at other suspects. They don't look at the seriousness of the allegations, they don't look at whether or not there are facts to substantiate what occurred, or they don't really review contradictions that come from the victim's own statements. All things considered, the jury had the opportunity to look at those same issues and they concluded that the proof was there beyond a reasonable doubt. As much as I disagree, I realize that's their verdict," said Hertel.
Hertel said the next step is to prepare for sentencing, and said there will likely be a referral for an appeal. During the verdict, Judge Smeltzer said the sentencing hearing is expected to be scheduled in the next 90 days.
Posted Aug. 9, 2017 at 5:05 p.m.:
Eau Claire County (WQOW) - The verdict is in for a retired Altoona police officer.
Just shortly before 5 p.m., Jeffrey Anger was found not guilty on count one of child sexual assault and guilty on count two of child sexual assault.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 18 for the latest details on-air and online.
Posted Aug. 8, 2017:
Eau Claire County (WQOW) - News 18 has an update from day two of the trial for retired Altoona police officer Jeffrey Anger.
On Tuesday, the Eau Claire court room was filled with witness testimony. Anger is being accused of sexually assaulting a child on two separate occasions, and most of Tuesday's testimony was trying to narrow down the scope of which days these occurred in 2014.
News 18 also heard statements from family members and child care workers on what kind of character the victim has.
"She's a delightful child. She definitely carries a lot of anxiety, a lot of worries. She's got an extremely kind heart. She's the first kid to reach out to somebody when they need something, very aware of people around her and what they need," said Paula Millar, the victim's school counselor.
Her father also took the stand and was asked by the prosecution if he has tried to convince the victim that what happened was actually just a dream. News 18 is not going to identify the victim's father, but this is what he had to say in court: "I haven't tried to convince her that it's a dream, no. I, myself, feel that the events as described by her are inaccurate".
Tuesday's testimony also centered around the victim's mental health following the days in question. Some witnesses said she started wearing darker clothing and cut and dyed her hair darker.
News 18 will have a reporter in the court room on Wednesday and will have more information as it becomes available. Wednesday is the last day the trial is scheduled in the Eau Claire County court room.
Posted Aug. 8, 2017 at 6:03 p.m.:
Eau Claire County (WQOW) - Day one has wrapped up in the trial for retired Altoona police officer Jeffrey Anger.
Anger is charged with two counts of first degree sexual assault of a child. Monday morning started with a jury selection that lasted over two hours. From there, opening statements began.
The first came from prosecuting Attorney Meri Larson, who told an emotional summary of what the jury will hear from the victim. She said the victim, who was 11 years old at the time, was inappropriately touched two different nights, and although she didn't see anyone during the incident, she could smell tobacco and berries and recognized a pair of pants.
The prosecution said Anger kept asking the victim after she came forward if she thought he was the one who did it. The defense followed with an opening statement saying he wasn't wearing the pants she saw at the time.
"At no time did he sexually assault her, and under the evidence presented here, you will find that he is innocent of these charges and find him not guilty. Thank you,” said Harry Hertel, Anger's attorney.
In his opening statement, Hertel also noted that prior to the incident, the victim was found in an online group chat, where she was talking about explicit material with someone who claimed to be 24.
The defense said Anger was the one who reported it to the Altoona Police Department.
The trial is scheduled to last until Wednesday. News 18 will be back in the court room on Tuesday for an update on day two.