Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Parish attorneys issue statement after hearing - THE WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES

JEFFERSON - Attorneys for Joseph Parish, a Cambridge High School physical education teacher accused of sexual assault, released a statement following a preliminary hearing on the charges Monday which was held in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

The statement was issued by Stephen Hurley and Erik Guenther, of the Madison law firm of Hurley, Burish & Stanton, S.C.

It states:

“Joseph Parish and his family face the worst nightmare of every educator - a false allegation of sexual contact by a student. Mr. Parish and his family are hopeful that the complainant in this matter will have the integrity to advise the school and/or the Cambridge Police Department that her claims are untrue. Alternatively, Mr. Parish takes solace in the fact that he will have the opportunity to refute the claims at a later jury trial.

“A preliminary hearing was held on this matter on Monday. The purpose of a preliminary hearing is for the state to demonstrate that they have some evidence in order for a case to proceed to trial. Here the state presented the testimony of the complainant. Wisconsin case law prescribes that the judge at a preliminary examination is not to make any finding as to a witness' credibility. Further, the judge is to continue a case to trial, as he did here, so long as the state is able to present some evidence. This is a low standard which is routinely met.

“A preliminary examination is not the time for the defense to present evidence. Mr. Parish is prepared to demonstrate that the allegations made by the (complainant) did not occur should this matter go to trial.

“Mr. Parish and his family appreciate the support that he has received from the community during this ordeal. He looks forward to returning to his positions as an educator and coach in service to the Cambridge community.”

Based on the testimony from the 18-year-old student who alleged she was assaulted on Sept. 14, 2005, in the Cambridge High School girls locker room, Judge Randy Koshnick bound Parish over for trial. The trial will be heard by Judge John Ullsvik in Branch One of Jefferson County Court. The Daily Times on Tuesday published an incorrect date for when the assault was alleged to have happened.

The next activity in the case will be a pretrial conference at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31. That conference will be between the prosecuting attorney Tris Baker in the district attorney's office, and Hurley and Guenther.

Parish, 37, is facing charges of second degree sexual assault, false imprisonment and intimidation of a victim. Convictions on those charges would carry a maximum of 56 years in prison and up to $135,000 in fines.

Parish remains free on a $20,000 signature bond.


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