March 28, 2006

Former youth ministry director sentenced

GM Today

By AL DUNN - GM Today Staff
March 28, 2006

In a charged hearing, Russell Roelke, a 45-year-old former West Bend youth ministry director originally charged with four counts of child sex crimes, was sentenced Monday to a 14-year prison term by Washington County Circuit Judge Annette Ziegler.

Under sentencing guidelines, Roelke will serve three years in the state prison system and the remainder under extended supervision.

After the sentence was passed, with audible moans emanating from the large contingent of his supporters, Roelke’s mother collapsed inside the courtroom and was attended to by West Bend paramedics. She was able to walk out of the courtroom later with assistance.

Roelke had earlier entered guilty pleas to two counts, one of use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime and one of possession of child pornography. A former youth ministry director at Fifth Avenue Methodist Church in West Bend, Roelke had also been charged with child enticement and exposing a child to harmful material, but Washington County Assistant District Attorney Holly Bunch had agreed to dismiss those charges as part of a plea agreement.

Posted by kshaw at March 28, 2006 10:24 PM