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As Halloween approaches, Scare USA owner makes first court appearance in sexual assault case

Posted at 8:02 PM, Oct 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-30 21:02:58-04
  • John Schwarz Jr. was arrested earlier this month on multiple charges including repeated sexual assault of the same child. After a delay, Schwarz made his initial appearance Monday.
  • Schwarz's attorney, Melissa Barrette, was successful in arguing for counts 2 and 5 against Schwarz to be dropped, stating that they were misdemeanors and the statute of limitations had expired.
  • Barette also asked Judge Jerilyn Dietz to drop Schwarz's bail from $50,000. Judge Dietz denied the motion, citing public safety. Schwarz is expected back in court on November 27 for his preliminary hearing.

As we approach Halloween, haunted attraction Scare USA owner John Schwarz Jr. officially made his initial appearance Monday afternoon at the Manitowoc County Courthouse. Schwarz was arrested earlier this month on multiple felony and misdemeanor counts including repeated sexual assault of the same child.

Schwarz is being represented by Melissa Barrette, who asked Judge Jerilyn Dietz to dismiss two misdemeanor charges against Schwarz: 4th degree sexual assault and sexual intercourse with a child 16 or older. Barrette stated the incidents happened in 2018 and the statute of limitations for these two crimes is three years.

"I don't know I have any alternative,” Dietz said. “The statute of limitations is clear on these specific allegations; they are both class A misdemeanors... so I do grant the motion to dismiss count 2 and count 5 as barred by the statute of limitations."

Barette also asked Judge Dietz to reduce Schwarz's bail of $50,000. Barrette said that Schwarz was not a flight risk, had a child in the community, and has cooperated with police investigations. She told Judge Dietz that Schwarz would be able to pay $5,000.

"I also do have concerns for the community and particularly the children, particularly the child alleged here that electronic monitoring would not assuage... The bail that is currently set is appropriate and it may even be modest, but I'm not going to modify it up. I think it is appropriate as set and I do deny this motion."

The preliminary hearing for Schwarz has been set for November 27.

During the appearance, Barrette said Schwarz will be maintaining his innocence throughout the case.