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Former Chippewa Falls priest files to have sexual assault charges dropped

Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - A Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting a child claims the criminal complaint has factual errors and so he is moving to have the case dismissed.

Father Charlie Richmond was charged with repeated sexual assault of a child in Chippewa County Court back in June.

He previously served as an associate pastor in Chippewa Falls and as a chaplain at the Catholic schools there.

Related: $10,000 signature bond set

A girl claims she was touched inappropriately by Richmond while she was a high schooler in Chippewa Falls. She said when she was 15 Richmond communicated with her on social media and she said Richmond was "very touchy." The victim said Richmond would touch her buttocks after giving her a hug.

Related: Statement on charges from McDonell Area Catholic Schools

In a motion to dismiss filed on Wednesday, Richmond's attorney Matthew Krische says portions of the criminal complaint are not correct or do not contain enough facts.

The criminal complaint says Richmond admitted to three or four incidents of "sexual contact."

Krische said in the investigator's report Richmond told [the investigator] "things happened" on three of four occasions.

The motion to dismiss reads "the criminal complaint misstates what was said. It takes a statement that admits 'things happened' and replaces that with the phrase 'sexual contact' in order to make it look like Fr. Richmond admitted sexual assault."

Krische said the "misstatement" was made "in order to bolster the probable cause for the charges by making it seem that a defendant committed a crime."

The motion to dismiss also calls into question the probability that a crime occurred.

The motion states a criminal complaint should answer what a person is charged with and why that particular person is charged.

Krische argues the complaint "only sets out an allegation of touching. The offense of sexual contact requires more than simply contact, it requires intentional touching."

Richmond was immediately removed from public ministry when the Diocese of La Crosse learned of the allegations. He was the priest at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Viroqua until charges were filed.

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