Deal reached in case of accused horse abuser in Brown County - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Deal reached in case of accused horse abuser in Brown County


BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A deal has been reached in the case of a man accused of sexually abusing horses in Brown and Manitowoc Counties.

Sterling Rachwal appeared in Brown County court Monday for a motion hearing.

Online court records show the defense and prosecution have reached a joint recommendation for sentencing.

The court canceled Rachwal's jury trial. The prosecution is submitting a motion to consolidate the Brown County case with the Manitowoc County case.

Rachwal is charged with Intentionally Mistreating Animals in Brown and Manitowoc Counties. The charge is a misdemeanor.

Prosecutors says a man believed to be Rachwal was seen running from a Brown County barn last February. A horse was found to be abused and had a bleeding rectum. A vehicle matching a description of Rachwal's truck was seen in the area.

In late March, investigators planted a GPS device on Rachwal's vehicle that showed him driving repeatedly between a bar and an area near Manitowoc. Deputies found a barn with horses there, and received the property owner's permission to install cameras. They say footage shows Rachwal repeatedly molesting a horse. Confronted with photos from the cameras, Rachwal told investigators, "You don't know that's me."

Rachwal initially pleaded "not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect", but the defense is withdrawing that plea ahead of the sentencing hearing.

Rachwal's plea and sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2018.

Bond continues.

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