Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sexual assault charges dismissed against Cambridge coach - DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE

JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) - Charges were dropped Monday against a high school teacher and coach accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old female student in 2005.

Joseph Parish, 37, of Cambridge, had been charged with second-degree sexual assault, false imprisonment and intimidation of a victim. His jury trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Prosecutors requested the dismissal, ordered Monday by Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge John Ullsvik.

"We believe this resolution is in the interests of the public and of justice," Jefferson County Prosecutor Tris Baker told the Daily Times in Watertown.

Neither Baker nor Parish's attorneys would make direct comment on the resolution.

Court records, including a defense motion seeking the victim's medical records state, "(The victim's) allegation (of sexual misconduct) is refuted by her phone records. (Her) cellular phone records show that her phone was used during the time period when she claims her phone was lost and also during the time frame of her claim of sexual assault."

Other records indicate the girl informed a counselor that no assault had occurred.

Sex case against Cambridge coach is dismissed - THE CAPITAL TIMES

By Steve Sharp
Watertown Daily Times
July 10, 2006

JEFFERSON - With a jury trial scheduled to begin Tuesday, a Jefferson County judge this morning dismissed all charges against former Cambridge High School teacher and coach Joseph Parish, who was accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old female student in 2005.
The charges were dismissed at 10 a.m. today by Jefferson County Circuit Judge John Ullsvik upon recommendation of the state.

"We believe this resolution is in the interests of the public and of justice," Jefferson County prosecutor Tris Baker told the Watertown Daily Times after a brief hearing in which the judge signed the dismissal.

In a statement released after the hearing, Parish resigned from his teaching and coaching job at Cambridge.

According to the clerk of court's office, the court record of this morning contains no further explanation for the dismissal and neither Baker nor the attorneys for Parish would make further direct comment on the resolution.

Parish declined to speak with the media as he left the courtroom this morning, but his attorneys, Erik Guenther and Stephen Hurley of the law firm Hurley, Burish & Stanton, S.C. were at his side and issued a written statement to the Daily Times.

"Mr. Parish is thankful that this difficult process is finally brought to a close," the statement reads, adding Parish has been thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of the Cambridge High School community as an educator and coach.

"The past 12 years have included many proud events," the statement continued. "While I have appreciated every moment that I have served in the community, the hardship of the allegations that I have faced have caused me to rethink my career path. After consulting with my family and giving this matter much thought, I have chosen to resign from my position at Cambridge High School."

Parish said he will miss being a teacher and coach in Cambridge, and for now, intends to spend time with his family and friends who he said have been valuable to him during the court process. After a short break, he said, he plans to pursue his coaching education and later become an educator at the collegiate level.

"Mr. Parish is thankful for the support that he and his family have received throughout the community, as they have weathered this storm," his statement reads.

In recent weeks Parish's defense had introduced motions asking Ullsvik to subpoena the alleged victim's mental health and counseling records at Meriter Hospital. The victim was admitted to that facility on Jan. 13 due to suicidal thoughts. They were also seeking records, including hand-written notes, from the woman's subsequent consultations with Mental Health Solutions, as well as all records from Cambridge High School relating to her meetings with counselors since the alleged incident Sept. 14, 2005.

The documents related to the subpoena request also contained information from the defense regarding the woman's cellular phone records that the defense maintained showed the woman's phone was used during the time period when she claims her phone was lost and also during the time frame of her claim of sexual assault.

The defense has maintained Parish was elsewhere during the window of time in which the woman claimed the assault was made. The defense also said there may be counseling records that show the woman may have indicated that no sexual assault occurred.

Overall, the defense maintained the date and time of the alleged assault, as recounted by the accuser, were sufficiently questionable to impeach her credibility.

In addition to the charge of second-degree sexual assault with the use of force, Parish had faced one count each of intimidating a victim with the threat of force and false imprisonment. If convicted on all three of the charges, Parish could have faced a maximum of 56 years in prison and/or a $135,000 fine.

Charges against Cambridge coach dropped - WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

GEORGE HESSELBERG ghesselberg@madison.com
July 11, 2006

Though charges of sexually assaulting a student were dropped Monday, popular teacher and coach Joseph Parish said he will resign his positions at Cambridge High School and "rethink my career path."

The community was rocked last April when charges were filed against Parish, 37, who had been varsity football coach for four years and had also coached boys' varsity basketball and baseball teams.

Monday, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge John Ullsvik dismissed all of the charges. The trial was to begin today. The district attorney did not say why a dismissal was requested, but Parish's lawyers had filed papers earlier indicating he was demonstrably out of town when the assault was said to have occurred.

Parish was charged in Jefferson County Court with second degree sexual assault, false imprisonment and intimidating a victim. An 18-year-old female student contacted authorities in March and accused Parish of attacking her last September after school hours in a deserted high school locker room.

In an additional memo to the court seeking the 18-year-old woman's mental health records, Parish's lawyers included the accuser's cell phone records, which show her phone was in use when she said it was lost, and during the time period the assault was to have taken place. In statements to investigating officers from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, the accuser said she had returned to the high school after hours because she had forgotten her cell phone in her locker.

After 6:20 p.m. Sept. 14, after football practice, Parish was 40 miles away, in Watertown, getting a haircut himself and then for his children. He then joined his parents for dinner, according to a notice of alibi filed last month by his lawyers, Stephen P. Hurley and Eric Guenther.

The accuser had been specific about when - between 8 and 9 p.m. - and where the assault happened, in the girls' locker room. The complaint alleged that Parish had pulled down her pants, groped her and then threatened to "do it again, only worse." The complaint also said he threatened her months later in a grocery store.

The student made the allegation against Parish to police on March 2. Parish was charged in late April, and had been placed on paid leave in March. His lawyers said that though he was aware of the investigation and had offered to meet with investigators whenever they wanted, Parish was not interviewed before he was arrested on an April Friday, then kept in the county jail over the weekend.

In a statement issued through Hurley's office, Parish said the "hardship of the allegations that I have faced has caused me to rethink my career path. After consulting with my family and giving this matter much thought, I have chosen to resign from my position at Cambridge High School."
He said he hoped to pursue a coaching education and to become an educator on the college level, according to the statement.

Parish had been employed at the Cambridge School District since 1994, after he graduated from UW-Whitewater, where he played football. He had been the head football coach at 339-student Cambridge High School for the past four years. Before that, he was the varsity boys basketball and baseball coach for several years.

Neither Cambridge Superintendent Ron Dayton, whose son played football for Parish, nor
Assistant District Attorney Tris Baker, would comment on the dismissal of charges Monday.
In his statement, Parish said "I am thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of the Cambridge High School community as an educator and coach. The past twelve years have included many proud events."

He said he would "greatly miss being a teacher and coach here in Cambridge."

http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/local/index.php?ntid=90628

Monday, July 10, 2006

Charges Against Cambridge Teacher Dismissed - NBC 15

Updated: 6:38 PM Jul 10, 2006

For video click here: http://nbc15.madison.com/news/headlines/3321166.html

New court filings have been released relating to an assault case involving a Cambridge teacher and a student. And now, those charges have been dismissed.

Those court filings have to do with the teacher's alibi and the accuser's cell phone records.

According to the criminal complaint, the accuser said Cambridge High School teacher and coach Joseph Parish sexually assaulted her when she went into a locker room to pick up her cell phone.

But according to court documents, the victim was using her cell phone during the time she said the attack took place.

Those documents also say Parish was in Watertown, getting a haircut at the time of the alleged assault.

Now that charges have been dropped, Parish's attorney has released a statement saying: "The hardship of the allegations I have faced has caused me to rethink my career path. After consulting with my family, I have chosen to resign from my position at Cambridge High school."
Parish's attorney says the former teacher will now be pursuing a master's degree and hopes to continue coaching at the college level.

Assault Charges Against Cambridge Coach Dismissed - WISC TV


UPDATED: 2:01 pm CDT July 10, 2006

JEFFERSON, Wis. -- Sexual assault charges against a former Cambridge high school teacher and coach were dismissed on Monday.

Joseph Parish was facing a jury trial on Tuesday on accusations he assaulted an 18-year-old female student last year.

Jefferson County Judge John Ullsvik dismissed the charges at the request of prosecutors.

In recent weeks, Parish's defense had introduced motions asking Ullsvik to subpoena the alleged victim's mental health and counseling records at Meriter Hospital.

The defense has maintained Parish was elsewhere during the window of time in which the woman claimed the assault was made.

Three felony charges against Parish carried a maximum 56 years in prison upon conviction.

Judge dismisses all Parish charges - WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES

JEFFERSON - With a jury trial scheduled to begin Tuesday, a Jefferson County judge this morning dismissed all charges against former Cambridge High School teacher and coach Joseph Parish, who was accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old female student in 2005.

The charges were dismissed at 10 a.m. today by Jefferson County Branch I Circuit Court Judge John Ullsvik upon recommendation of the state.

“We believe this resolution is in the interests of the public and of justice,” Jefferson County Prosecutor Tris Baker told the Daily Times after a brief hearing in which the judge signed the dismissal.

Parish declined to speak with the media as he left the courtroom this morning, but his attorneys Erik Guenther and Stephen Hurley of the law firm Hurley, Burish & Stanton, S.C. were at his side and issued a written statement to the Daily Times.

“Mr. Parish is thankful that this difficult process is finally brought to a close,” the statement reads, adding Parish has been thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of the Cambridge High School community as an educator and coach.

“The past 12 years have included many proud events,” he said. “While I have appreciated every moment that I have served in the community, the hardship of the allegations that I have faced have caused me to rethink my career path. After consulting with my family and giving this matter much thought, I have chosen to resign from my position at Cambridge High School.”

Parish said he will miss being a teacher and coach in Cambridge, and for now, intends to spend time with his family and friends who he said have been valuable to him during the court process. After a short break, he said, he plans to pursue his coaching education and later become an educator at the collegiate level.

“Mr. Parish is thankful for the support that he and his family have received throughout the community, as they have weathered this storm,” his statement reads.

According to the clerk of court's office, the court record of this morning contains no further explanation for the dismissal and neither Baker nor the attorneys for Parish would make further direct comment on the resolution.

In recent weeks, however, Parish's defense had introduced motions asking Ullsvik to subpoena the alleged victim's mental health and counseling records at Meriter Hospital. The victim was admitted to that facility on Jan. 13 due to suicidal thoughts. They were also seeking records, including hand-written notes, from the woman's subsequent consultations with Mental Health Solutions, as well as all records from Cambridge High School relating to her meetings with counselors since the alleged incident Sept. 14, 2005.

The defense also said there may be counseling records that show the woman may have indicated that no sexual assault occurred.

The documents related to the subpoena request also contained information from the defense regarding the woman's cellular phone records that the defense maintained showed the woman's phone was used during the time period when she claims her phone was lost and also during the time frame of her claim of sexual assault. The defense has maintained Parish was elsewhere during the window of time in which the woman claimed the assault was made.

Overall, the defense maintained the date and time of the alleged assault, as recounted by the accuser, were sufficiently questionable to impeach her credibility.

In addition to the charge of second-degree sexual assault with the use of force, Parish had faced one count each of intimidating a victim with the threat of force and false imprisonment. If convicted on all three of the charges, Parish could have faced a maximum of 56 years in prison and/or a $135,000 fine.

Sexual assault charges dismissed against Cambridge coach - MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) -- Charges were dropped Monday against a high school teacher and coach accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old female student in 2005.

Joseph Parish, 37, of Cambridge, had been charged with second-degree sexual assault, false imprisonment and intimidation of a victim. His jury trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday.
Prosecutors requested the dismissal, ordered Monday by Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge John Ullsvik.

"We believe this resolution is in the interests of the public and of justice," Jefferson County Prosecutor Tris Baker told the Daily Times in Watertown.

Neither Baker nor Parish's attorneys would make direct comment on the resolution.

Court records, including a defense motion seeking the victim's medical records state, "(The victim's) allegation (of sexual misconduct) is refuted by her phone records. (Her) cellular phone records show that her phone was used during the time period when she claims her phone was lost and also during the time frame of her claim of sexual assault."

Other records indicate the girl informed a counselor that no assault had occurred.

Parish, who has worked at the School District of Cambridge since 1994 and is currently on leave of absence, distributed a statement and said he would resign.

"The past 12 years have included many proud events. While I have appreciated every moment I have served the community, the hardship of the allegations that I have faced has caused me to rethink my career path."

Parish said he would miss being a teacher and coach at Cambridge High School. He said he would take a break and then pursue being a coach and later an educator at the college level.

During a May 22 preliminary hearing, Judge Randy Koschnick bound Parish over for trial based on the testimony of the 18-year-old who said Parish assaulted her on Sept. 14, 2005 in the high school girl's locker room.

She said she returned to school to search for her cell phone between 8 and 9 p.m. and Parish let her in. Crying softly on the witness stand, the woman said Parish followed her into the girls' locker room and slammed her locker shut when she tried to open it.

The teen said Parish grabbed her right arm and spun her around against the lockers.
The girl said she started crying while Parish allegedly held her against the locker with his right arm across her chest and then pulled down her shorts and underwear with his left hand and touched her.

The defense has maintained Parish was elsewhere during the window of time in which the woman claimed the assault was made. Overall, the defense maintained the date and time of the alleged assault, as recounted by the accuser, were sufficiently questionable to impeach her credibility.

If convicted on all three of the charges, Parish could have faced a maximum of 56 years in prison and a $135,000 fine.

The charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning that Parish could be recharged in the future if evidence warranted it.

Parish has worked at the School District of Cambridge as a physical education teacher and coach since 1994. For the past four years, Parish has served as the head football coach of the Blue Jays, leading the team to its first Capitol Conference championship in 2004 with a 10-1 record.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Court records can't be used to discriminate - CORPORATE REPORT WISCONSIN

By Arendt, Laurie

THOUGH THEY MAY NOT ADMIT IT IN POLITE company, many employers do a little sleuthing on the Internet as part of the hiring process.

"It just makes sense to me," said Dave, a small business owner in suburban Milwaukee who logs on to the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Web site as well as the Wisconsin

Sex Offender Registry to check every application that comes across his desk.

Dave said he's not concerned about the occasional speeding ticket, or a minor, youthful infraction.

"What I am concerned about is protecting my business, because while employees are an asset, sometimes they can be a liability," he said. "I don't want someone with a drunk driving conviction in any of my vehicles."

If you count yourself among those businesses that use Internet resources as part of your own due diligence, here is a quick refresher on how you can legally use that information in your hiring decisions.

While it is legal, if you accept the terms listed on the front page of the circuit court Web site, to access the public records, what you do with them as a potential employer is an entirely different story.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Equal Rights Division, Civil Rights Bureau, while an employer can ask if an applicant has any convictions or pending charges, that information can only be given consideration if the offenses are "substantially related to the circumstances of the particular job or licensed activity."

"The legislation's intent was to protect by law the ability to have gainful employment," explained attorney Erik R. Guenther of Hurley, Burish & Stanton SC in Madison.

As for what is or is not "substantially related," Guenther said employers need to focus on making an inquiry as fact-based as possible to avoid potentially discriminating against an individual.

"This is most clear in situations where an individual's record prohibits him or her from obtaining licensing or bonding," he said. "For example, a pharmacy technician [who] cannot obtain or renew his or her license after a drug conviction."

Should you come across an individual listed on Wisconsin's Sex Offender Registry, Guenther suggested two points to remember.

"First of all, not every registered sex offender is a sexual predator," he said. "secondly, these offenders are already on probation and have significant curtailments in place to integrate them back into society in a safe way."

Not everything about public access to information is always clear, either. Guenther is concerned with the interpretation that can occur when accessing such Web sites.

"Certain important information is not always part of the accessible record," he explained, citing a case where a woman faced felony and misdemeanor charges while defending herself against an abusive fiance. Guenther was able to show that the fiance had a history of abuse in prior relationships and the charges were dismissed, though they remain on her record.

"With a criminal charge, the presumption tends to be guilt" he said. "And because the online records aren't detailed, someone accessing the record wouldn't necessarily understand what had happened."

The circuit court Web site is also not complete. Not all Wisconsin counties put their cases there, and some use it on a limited basis.

And if you've done a search on your own name and can't figure out why that stray parking or speeding ticket didn't seem to show up, there's a good reason for it.

"The Web site is also far more likely to show county cases and not municipal citations," said Guenther. "If a citation was issued by a city or village, it may not even show up even though it occurred."

Next month, we will cover blogs and other online information that can affect hiring practices.