Jury finds area man guilty of child sex assault

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Enneper abused 5 boys over a period of years
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Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Defense attorney Andrew Mongin, left, confers with his client, Rodney Enneper, after an Oconto County jury began its deliberations Friday in Enneper’s child sexual assault trial.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 19 in the case of an Oconto County man who sexually assaulted five boys from 10 to 14 years old.

A jury of seven men and five women returned guilty verdicts for 25 felony counts Friday against Rodney G. Enneper, 48, who lived in Oconto when three of the boys were molested in 2014 and in Oconto Falls when the other two boys were assaulted about a decade ago.

Fourteen of the charges were for possession of child pornography after investigators found hundreds of images on his home computer after arresting him for the assaults.

The jury found him guilty of four counts of child enticement, five counts of second-degree sexual assault, one count of first-degree sexual assault and one count of repeated sexual abuse of the same child.

The trial began July 25. Special prosecutor Annie Jay, an assistant attorney general for the state, spent four days building the case against Enneper. The case was scheduled for a second week, but defense attorney Andrew Mongin decided Friday not to call any witnesses. Enneper chose not to testify in his own defense.

Three of the boys testified about assaults that occurred after Enneper took them on “road trips” individually in his job as a semi-truck driver during the summer of 2014. Enneper, who received authorization to carry the passengers, had sexual contact with each boy during the trips, court documents show.

As authorities investigated the 2014 incidents, they learned of earlier attacks against two boys around 2005 to 2009, including repeated abuse of one particular boy. Now grown men, they also testified during the trial.

The boys who were abused in 2014 were 14, 13 and 12 years old that summer. The men testified that the earlier attacks occurred when they were 10 to 13.

Jay told the jury that the toll on the five victims was clear.

Of one victim, she said he “had to come in and tell you what he tried so hard to put out of his mind.”

Another is now 23 and in the military, “but when he testified you saw that confused 13-year-old kid,” Jay told the jury.

Of another, “You didn’t see someone with an ax to grind … you saw someone who was hurt,” she said.

“I promised you that by the end of this trial, you would know who the defendant is,” Jay said, concluding her closing argument, “You know who he is.”

In his closing argument, Mongin made reference to an expert’s testimony that children’s recollections can be influenced by other people’s suggestion, and he said it had not been shown that Enneper had “knowing control” of the download and viewing of the images on the computer, which was a shared family device.

He also noted that the boys assaulted in 2014 did not come forward until several months later.

Jay responded that any other interpretation of the evidence would suggest the boys and their families got together to frame Enneper, but it was clear from their testimony that the boys didn’t compare notes and told five different stories, in their own ways.

“There is no evidence the families had any hard feelings at all toward the defendant until he assaulted their boys,” she said.

Enneper has been held in lieu of $250,000 cash bond since his first court appearance April 22, 2015.