At a hearing in Washburn County Circuit Court on December 21, 2017, the Court ordered the revocation of conditional release from the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison, WI for a Shell Lake, WI man who was charged in 1996 with 8 counts of sexual assault of a child.

According to the criminal complaint filed on January 22, 1996, Russell Hadlock was charged with Class C Felony - 2nd Degree Sexual Assault of a Child on at least 8 separate occasions. The criminal complaint states that the Shell Lake Police Department received a complaint that Hadlock had been ‘bragging’ about having an ongoing sexual relationship with an underage female. When Hadlock was interviewed by officers, he confessed that the relationship had been going on for approximately 8 months. 

Washburn County Health and Human Services interviewed the underage victim, who also confirmed that Hadlock had engaged in sexual relations with her. The victim stated further that she did not want to have sexual intercourse with Hadlock, but had been afraid to tell him to stop.

Online circuit court records show that on May 2, 1996, Hadlock was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect in Washburn County Circuit Court. 

This means that Hadlock was found guilty of actually committing the crimes charged, but was also found not to be legally responsible under Wisconsin Statute 971.165 for committing the crimes because of a mental condition.

The legal effect of a finding of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect is that the Court must commit the defendant to the custody of the Department of Health and Family Services. An order for commitment was filed on May 6, 1996. It is not known to where that initial commitment order placed Hadlock.

According to, “an order for conditional release places the person in the custody and control of the department of health services. A conditionally released person is subject to the conditions set by the court and to the rules of the department of health services. Before a person is conditionally released by the court under this subsection, the court shall so notify the municipal police department and county sheriff for the area where the person will be residing.” 

Under Wisconsin statute, a person found Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Defect or Mental Disease may petition for release from institutional care 6 months from the original order of commitment, or from the most recent denial of petition for release, or from the most recent revocation of release.

According to online circuit court records, Hadlock has been granted conditional release in previous years. Records indicate that Hadlock resided in Black River Falls for a period of time in 2006, and in Eau Claire for a period of time in 2008. The Court later ordered revocation of those releases. Hadlock has not been placed back into Washburn County since the time of his original commitment.

A conditional release for Hadlock from the Mendota Mental Health Institute located in Madison, WI was most recently granted in August 2016.  The Wisconsin Department of Corrections indicates that Hadlock was placed in Juneau County. According to the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry, Hadlock is required to register as a sex offender for life.

Although the details of the hearing on December 21, 2017, are not known to, online circuit court records show that the Court heard testimony from multiple witnesses, including testimony from Hadlock. The Court then ordered that Hadlock’s conditional release be revoked, and that he be transported back to Mendota Mental Health Institute by the Washburn County Sheriff.

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