A former La Crosse pediatrician, age 41, who was charged with sexually molesting children, was given a 512-year prison term.
Joseph A. Poterucha Pleaded Guilty
During a sentencing hearing held on Monday in La Crosse County Circuit Court, Joseph A. Poterucha discovered his fate. He entered a guilty plea to two charges of fourth-degree child sexual assault in addition to one felony count of second-degree child sexual abuse, reported in La Crosse Tribune.
On the felony count, Judge Todd Bjerke sentenced the offender to five years in state prison, followed by 14 years of supervised release. His release comes with conditions including being prohibited from using the internet and from communicating with anyone who is younger than 18. The lifetime registration of Poterucha as a sex offender is required by state law.
For one of the two misdemeanor offenses, Poterucha, who has lived in Rochester, Minnesota since being charged, will also spend six months in the La Crosse County Jail.
Before making a plea deal on May 26, he was initially charged with three counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor under 13.
Before delivering the sentence, Bjerke made a reference to Poterucha’s experience as a pediatrician. Poterucha was in charge of pediatrics at Mayo Health in La Crosse at the time of his arrest. Poterucha’s history and expertise, according to Bjerke, should have made him aware of an issue.
None of Poterucha’s victims came from his place of business.
Poterucha Expressed Regret For His Victims
Five of Poterucha’s victims spoke in court before to the sentencing hearing, accompanied by a number of dozen supporters wearing T-shirts with a sexual assault awareness ribbon. The girls talked of their suffering from trauma and agony. One victim said she still lives in dread as she cried while trying to give her story.
Joe is a pedophile and a rapist, even though he won’t admit it, according to a different victim. We committed no crimes, and Joe sentenced us to life in prison. The identical life sentence is due to him.
Jennifer Lough, the defense attorney, requested probation. She refuted the claim that Poterucha has shown no remorse. She claimed he quickly acknowledged responsibility and declared he didn’t want any of the girls to face a trial.
Poterucha spoke to the court and expressed regret for his victims.
Shortly after his arrest, Poterucha lost his position at Mayo and had his medical license revoked, reports from KROC.