This story appeared first in the Sunday edition of the Wisconsin State Journal newspaper.
LANCASTER — The case against a 6-year-old Grant County boy accused of first-degree sexual assault for playing doctor with a 5-year-old girl last September could be dismissed in six months under an agreement between the boy's parents and the district attorney that requires the child to participate in counseling.
Experts in child sexual behavior have said such sexual exploration or play is normal for children that age, calling it completely outside accepted medical practice to characterize a 6-year-old's actions as sexual assault.
The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families said a review of the case found that the Grant County Department of Social Services referred the matter to law enforcement as required by law.
Under state law, the boy is too young to be charged with a crime or in a juvenile delinquency petition, the equivalent of a criminal complaint for juveniles. Instead, a petition seeking protection or services for the boy was filed in November in Grant County Circuit Court.
According to the petition, the girl's mother found her daughter in the boy's yard with her skirt and underpants around her ankles and the boy sitting underneath her, penetrating her with his finger. The petition alleges the boy had sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 12 and accuses him of committing the delinquent act of first-degree sexual assault.
The girl told her mother they were playing "butt doctor" and told authorities the boy only touched her on the outside of her body, court documents state.
A consent decree approved July 22 by Iowa County Circuit Court Judge William Dyke requires the boy to participate in counseling. The family also will have in-home meetings with a counselor twice a month.
In addition, the family must participate in therapy if the boy's counselor finds it necessary, and complete an assessment and case plan and follow through with goals and recommendations.
The two families are to have no contact. In April, the boy's family was granted a temporary restraining order against the girls' parents after claiming they were being harassed and tailgated.
The boy, who has a developmental disorder, had several enemas and other procedures for a medical problem prior to the incident. He was evaluated by two psychiatrists who found he lacks the sexual awareness for his alleged actions to have been sexually motivated, according to Madison attorney Stephen Eisenberg, who is representing him.
The petition against the boy can be reinstated for failure to comply with the consent decree. If not reinstated, the petition will be dismissed in six months.
A second petition filed two weeks after the first also accused the boy of disorderly conduct for allegedly grabbing the breasts of two teenage baby sitters, taking off his clothes and rubbing himself on their legs, and trying to kiss them.
According to court records, Grant County District Attorney Lisa Riniker said she would dismiss the disorderly conduct petition as long as the conditions of the consent decree are met. Riniker did not return calls for comment.