**WARNING** This article contains content that may not be suitable for all readers.
A 48-year-old man has been charged in Washburn County Circuit Court with sexual assault of a child under the age of 13.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Washburn County Circuit Court, the alleged assaults occurred in 2014 when the accused, Eric Pfeifer, of St. Paul, MN was 44 and the juvenile female victim was 9 years old.
The investigation into the report of the sexual assault was conducted by the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation assisted by investigative documents from the Washburn County Sheriff’s Office as well as information received from the Andover, Kansas Police Department.
The criminal complaint states that a school resource officer from the Andover Police Department investigated a report that a juvenile female had been sexually assaulted by an adult male. The juvenile female stated that she had been assaulted by Eric Pfeifer between June and September in 2014 when the juvenile female had been visiting family members in Washburn County.
Pfeifer had also come to Washburn County and had contact with the juvenile female during that time frame, according to the criminal complaint.
Statements received from the juvenile female victim described how Pfeifer would call her over to him, grab her, and sit her up on his lap, often with a blanket over them. The statements went on to describe that Pfeifer would then touch her private parts with his hands, both outside of her clothing and inside.
The criminal complaint goes on to state that the juvenile female told investigators that during the assaults, other people would be in the room, but ‘they were little and so wouldn’t think anything of it.’
She also stated concern that another juvenile female may have been assaulted, as she had seen the other juvenile female sitting on Pfeifer’s lap, also with a blanket over them. The juvenile female said that during the assaults she would eventually say that she had to use the bathroom as a method of getting away from the assault.
An agent with DCI interviewed Pfeifer in May 2018 regarding the reported sexual assault. According to the criminal complaint, when Pfeifer was asked if he knew the reason for the interview, he told investigators that he was “imagining that it is an issue with me and one of the children”. When agents asked Pfeifer to clarify his statement, he went on to say that “worst case scenario is that I had been inappropriate with a child.”
Pfeifer went on to confirm that he would regularly visit Washburn County around holiday times to visit family. According to the criminal complaint, when investigating agents questioned Pfeifer as to the reason for the interview, he stated that there was a juvenile female relative whom he had touched inappropriately.
Pfeifer went on to deny that the touching had been to appease his sexual interest but instead was done just to see if the juvenile female was ticklish. He stated that he tickled all the children present during family gatherings and that this female did not respond and so he had continued to tickle her in various areas of her body to see if she would react.
When investigating agents asked Pfeifer if he had touched the juvenile female’s vagina, Pfeifer stated, “very close to the vagina, Yes, and that’s the problem.”
Pfeifer told investigating agents that he touched the juvenile female both over and under her clothing around her vagina while a blanket was covering them both. He went on to state that he understood that investigating agents would believe the juvenile female victim’s statement over his, and that “I on many levels agree with you on that.”
The criminal complaint goes on to state that when investigating agents asked Pfeifer to confirm whether he had touched the juvenile female under her clothing, he stated: “I cannot answer that.” Agents went on to ask him if that was because he didn’t want to answer dishonestly, however, Pfeifer replied, “because I will get in trouble. Because I will get in trouble. Because of the consequences.” Eventually, Pfeifer stated, “ Whatever [the juvenile female] said is the truth. Can we agree that I am admitting to whatever [the juvenile female] has said.”
Pfeifer is charged with Class B Felony 1st Degree Child Sex Assault - Sexual Contact with Person Under Age 13. If convicted as charged, Pfeifer faces a maximum penalty of 60 years confinement in state prison.
Online circuit court records show that Pfeifer made an initial appearance on his charges on June 27, 2018. A bail bond hearing was held for Pfeifer on May 17, 2018, however, details were not included in online records as to his bail bond conditions. Pfeifer’s next court appearance was not listed at the time of this post.
Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.