A 20-year-old Racine man will spend at least 15 in prison for repeatedly having oral sex with a nine-year-old girl when he was 16-years-old and a sophomore in high school.
Thomas Eickner pleaded guilty in Racine County Circuit Court in July to a single felony count of repeated sexual assault of the same child. The conviction carried a possible sentence of up to 60 years in jail. The state asked for a sentence of 13 to 16 year sentence while the defense asked for a two year sentence with a lengthy probation period with treatment.
Racine County Circuit Court Judge Emily Mueller opted for a bifurcated sentence on Tuesday that includes a 15 year prison sentence with 10 years of extended supervision.
Dr. Melissa Westondorf, who conducted the pre-sentence investigation on Eickner, pointed out that he denies sexually assaulting the girl. However, she said he is a low risk for recidivism. State’s attorney Dirk Jensen questioned that finding because Eickner has not taken responsibility for his actions and has not received treatment.
“He’s got to be held accountable with a sentence… so she doesn’t have to worry about Mr. Eickner being out,” said Dirk Jensen. .
During the sentencing, Eickner’s statement was short and did not acknowledge responsibility.
“I do need treatment… I just want everyone to move on with their life,” Eichner said.
But Mueller questioned that the girl and her family can’t move on because of her fear of Eichner coming back.
“Fifteen years is a long, long time. And it’s particularly a long, long time at your age,” Mueller said. “But I believe that that lengthy period of time is necessary both for your treatment and to ensure the protection of the public. And to ensure that appropriate punishment is given for the gravity of this offense.”
“I am also looking at this time period for this victim to gain adulthood, to be in her 20s and to be hopefully at an age where she has passed adolescence, entered adulthood and hopefully be in stable relationships of her own.”
Police say Eickner getting a girlfriend may have been the reason he stopped assaulting the girl. She said she didn’t tell anyone at the time because she didn’t understand what was happening and that Eickner might come after her. Officers say the girl said she never stopped thinking about the incidents and it was only after she saw Eickner for the first time in a long time that she got scared he might assault her again.
During the sentencing, Mueller acknowledged his inability to take responsibility for his actions.
“I look at your character, and your needs and I am struck with your denial that this has occurred,” Mueller said. “It is very difficult to get treatment or counseling when you don’t own up to what is happening. And you aren’t owning up to what happened.”
The girl’s father, whose name is not being used to protect the girl’s identity, read a letter in court talking about the relationship between Eickner and their family. A friend of the family, the girl looked up to Eichner and saw him as a big brother.
“He took that trust and shattered it… he knows what he did, it’s time he paid for what he did. But he took my daughter’s innocence,” he said.