A Portage man has been sentenced to 23 years in the Wisconsin prison system following a conviction for charges surrounding the sexual assault of a minor.
Raymond E. Crowe, 26, appeared in Columbia County Circuit Court on Tuesday for sentencing, charged with six counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child, two counts of child enticement and one count of child sexual exploitation.
Judge Alan J. White asked for the status of the case, receiving confirmation that Crowe would be entering a plea of no contest to the charges, but there was no agreement on a sentence recommendation.
Based on the Department of Corrections pre-sentence investigation recommending nine to 10 years of prison, Assistant District Attorney Brenda Yaskal requested a sentence of 10 years initial confinement and eight years of extended supervision.
Yaskal said at the time of his arrest in March 2014 on charges of having a relationship with a 15-year-old girl, Crowe was on probation for the very same offense — a conviction for second-degree sexual assault, resulting in seven years of probation.
While in jail Crowe also continued to make contact with underage girls, as Yaskal revisited with transcripts of phone calls including one in which he encouraged a girl to visit him, with her asking, “Isn’t this what got you here in the first place?” To which he replied, “No. It’ll be fine.”
The analysis also showed a strong relationship between Crowe and his mother, whom he spoke to over the phone, asking her to find someone to beat up the 15-year-old girl at the center of his case.
Crowe was charged with six counts of felony bail jumping and two counts of intimidating or threatening a victim. The charges were dismissed, but read into the record prior to his sentencing hearing.
There was an explanation for what had led Crowe to this point, if not an excuse, defense attorney Peter Masana told the court.
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Although Crowe was on probation for second-degree sexual assault for a 2012 case, there was necessary context in that he was 20 years old and the minor was 17. Masana also described Crowe’s comparatively modest maturity and reasoning ability — an estimated seventh- or eighth-grade level.
Factors in Crowe’s personal history, according to Masana, included his mother having him at a very young age and his father being in prison, serving a seven-year sentence.
Recently, Crowe has been treated at the Mendota Mental Health Institution and Columbia Correctional Institution where he was placed for a time in solitary confinement.
According to Department of Corrections records, following his arrest in 2014 Crowe was held at Dodge County Correctional Institution from May to July 2015, then at the prison in Kettle Moraine from July to September and at Columbia Correctional Institution from Sept. 11 to Sept. 15, before going back to Kettle Moraine.
“I don’t think an additional decade of confinement and almost a decade of supervision will help anyone,” Masana told the court, recommending five years confinement and three years of supervision.
Citing anxiety issues on his client’s part, Masana then read a statement from Crowe, explaining himself to White.
“The state of Wisconsin has my full attention and I know that prison is not for me or anyone else,” he read, going on to describe his poorly-structured childhood in which at age 13 he had a 17-year-old girlfriend and was hanging out with 20- and 30-year-olds who also had teenage girlfriends.
“Why most of them got away with it, I’m not sure.”
White sentenced Crowe to 23 years — eight years of initial confinement and 15 years of extended supervision and participation in the sex offender registry.