A former Weyauwega area man who molested horses 20 years ago will finish out his full commitment term at a state mental health institution. That was a judge’s decision in the case of 50-year-old Sterling Rachwal, who’s initial commitment to the Mendota Health Facility in Madison began in the mid 1990s.
After a failed conditional release in 2008, Rachwal was re-committed through April of next year. But Wednesday in Waupaca County Court Rachwal’s attorney argued for conditional early release, which would then take place in 60 to 90 days. Waupaca County Assistant District Attorney Jim Fassbender agreed that a conditional release might be more appropriate than an unconditional release next year. “Rather than being in a situation where we’re just pushing him out the door, it’s better to have some level of supervision,” Fassbender said.
“The statute does not provide for a transition,” said Circuit Judge Keith Steckbauer, who ruled the law does not provide for the type of release being sought. “The statutory scheme created by the legislature doesn’t create a structure to transition people out into the comunity.” And the judge felt the public still needs protection from Rachwal, who is currently housed in a minimum security wing of the Mendota facility. His unconditional release date is April 21st of next year.