JUNEAU — Mark Forster, a former Mayville police officer who faces a felony charge of child enticement, was free on a $5,000 signature bond after his initial court appearance Tuesday.
Forster, 30, has also been charged with four felony counts of misconduct in office and a misdemeanor charge of intentionally contributing to the delinquency of a minor. If convicted of all the charges, he could face up to 49 years and nine months in prison and a $150,000 fine.
Forster appeared before Dodge County Court Commissioner Steven Seim. As conditions of Forster’s bond, he may not have contact with the alleged victims or the investigating officers.
Forster’s case is being prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office in Dodge County Circuit Court. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 8.
According to the criminal complaint, two months before Forster’s resignation in August 2016, Ryan Vossekuil, who was then a captain for the Mayville Police Department, conducted an internal investigation of Forster after learning of claims from two community members that Forster had a relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Forster resigned that month. His resignation agreement contained a confidentiality, non-defamation provision.
No details of that investigation have been released, but when Vossekuil was being considered for Mayville police chief, he sent an email to several city officials as well as Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt questioning whether Forster’s wife, Rachel, who sits on the Mayville city council, could be impartial since he had investigated misconduct allegations against her husband.
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Forster filed a lawsuit against the city and Vossekuil claiming Vossekuil’s email was a violation of the confidentiality agreement. Forster lost his lawsuit June 6 when Dodge County Judge Martin DeVries issued a summary judgment against his claims. Forster could still appeal that decision.
A former administrative assistant for the Mayville Police originally denied any knowledge of wrongdoing by Forster but came to authorities in March 2018. According to the criminal complaint, the administrative assistant said she was aware in 2016 that Forster had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Vossekuil, who by that point was Mayville’s police chief, asked the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation to investigate the claims against Forster. Vossekuil left the Mayville department last summer for a job as police chief in the village of Jackson.
A DCI special agent received a written statement from the administrative assistant, who said she became aware of Foster’s affair with the teenage girl in July 2016 after the girl told the administrative assistant that she had sexual contact with Forster in two different parks in Mayville. The complaint says the administrative assistant agreed to keep the information to herself when Forster asked, but she began feeling guilty for not coming forward with the information.
The administrative assistant told the DCI special agent that she also had a sexual relationship with Forster in the first six months of 2015 when she was 20. She said the incidents happened during “ride-alongs” while Forster was on duty.
The teenage girl contacted Vossekuil in April 2018. The girl said that she had denied having a physical relationship when initially questioned at age 17 because she was trying to protect Forster. However, she said she later realized his actions were inappropriate. The girl said when she found out that Forster was suing Mayville to get his job back, she became concerned there would be more victims.
A DCI special agent spoke to the girl in April 2018 as well and according to the complaint, the girl said she met with Forster while he was on duty as well as when he was not on duty and that Forster had the her perform a sexual act with him.