Judge frees man having 40-year molestation historyA Superior man with a 40-year history of child molestation turned in his ankle bracelet last week.
By: Maria Lockwood, The Daily Telegram
A Superior man with a 40-year history of child molestation turned in his ankle bracelet last week.
After years in prison and 12 years of civil commitment as a sexual predator, Richard Thielman, 69, was discharged Wednesday in Douglas County Court.
Judge Michael Lucci approved a petition for discharge based on an evaluation report from a psychologist who works at the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center. The report concluded Thielman was not “more likely than not” to reoffend, the criteria required to keep someone under supervision based on the state’s sexually violent person law.
“It’s rare a person is ultimately discharged” from the law, Lucci said. “Supervised release is even rare.”
Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank opposed the move, pointing out sections of the report that raised concerns. The psychologist asked Thielman if he poses a risk of reoffending.
“There’s always a risk, like alcoholism,” Blank quoted Thielman from the report. “But I think the risk’s real low, like zero.”
Blank also pointed out that Thielman pushed limits by going “out of range” on the Fourth of July without his supervising agent’s approval.
“It appears Mr. Thielman grew comfortable” with relatively lax supervision, Blank said.
J. Patrick O’Neill, first assistant public defender, stressed the report’s bottom line.
“Mr. Thielman no longer fits the criteria of being more likely than not to commit another sexual offense,” O’Neill said.
“I’m not saying there is no risk,” the judge said. “I agree with Mr. Blank there is a risk.” However, he said, it does not rise to the level needed to keep the Superior man under supervision.
It was Lucci who committed Thielman under the sexually violent person law in 1996. At the time, the Superior man was serving a seven-year sentence for first-degree sexual assault of a child and a concurrent 10-year-sentence for second-degree assault of a child. He was granted supervised release into the Billings Park community in February 2004, which led to an outpouring of concern from citizens.
Department of Corrections agents have monitored Thielman since his release. Conditions of his supervision included no contact with any minors without approval and use of the electronic monitor as well as a GPS device. Those items were turned in Wednesday.
“Good luck to you, Mr. Thielman,” Lucci said as the hearing ended.
Thielman will remain on the state’s sex offender registry for life, according to Joe Fitzpatrick, Wisconsin Department of Corrections registration specialist.