VernonReporter

Former Viroqua man sentenced to two years of prison and four years probation for sexual assaults following revocation of diversion agreement

VIROQUA, Wis. – 24-year-old Silas Reber, formerly of Viroqua, was sentenced to two years in the Wisconsin prison system and four years of extended supervision after his diversion agreement was revoked for a 2020 sexual assault of a child case. Reber’s attorney had reached a diversion agreement in 2021 with prosecutors to avoid jail time if he completed sex offender treatment program, but after he failed to meet the requirements of the program requirements twice, Vernon County Judge Darcy Rood revoked Reber’s diversion agreement last month, and today sentenced him to prison time.

You can read the details of the revoked diversion agreement and the original charges in the previous story posted below. Reber’s current address is listed as Potosi.

Vernon County Assistant District Attorney Jasmine Betancourt layed her arguments out to Judge Rood on why she was asking for a sentence of three years in prison combined with three years of extended supervision. Betancourt described the numerous victims and the seriousness of the offenses that she said was evidence that Reber had no regard for boundaries and felt entitled to take what he wanted from the victims, sometimes by force.

“Following Mr. Reber’s arrest in the sexual assault case,” Betancourt said. “His attorney and I worked hand in hand to come up with a resolution that we thought would be beneficial to not only Mr. Reber, but to the community at large. I think it was noted in the character letters that Mr., Reber is one of 10 (children), that he was home schooled, and I think in our early conversations we both understood that perhaps that had something to do with Mr. Reber’s inability to interact socially appropriately. You know, maybe that had something to do with the fact that he doesn’t really seem to understand boundaries, or how to act properly in our society. So that was when we decided that Mr. Reber would probably benefit from counseling, and benefit from that inpatient treatment now prior to agreeing to that was the reason Mr. Reber was receiving that very specific sexual offender counseling. And then the court heard from the professionals, how Mr. Reber was given this amazing opportunity. A very rare opportunity that not very many sexual offenders are given to participate, meaningfully in treatment, and he failed to do that miserably. He didn’t take it seriously he was given another opportunity with outpatient. Again, didn’t take it seriously, understanding that all of this was hanging over his head and he failed to take advantage of that.”

Betancourt asked that the court not be swayed by the numerous character letters that were submitted on the defendants behalf, and to think about the victims.

“I also did review the character letters that were submitted on Mr. Reber’s behalf,” said Betancourt. “And in stark contrast to what those character references detail about Mr. Reber, the victims in this case know a very different side of him. I think that that’s very evident in the victim impact statements, and there were multiple that were filed. You know I think that a lot of the victims were hoping that Mr. Reber was going to go to treatment, and that he was going to come back, and you know, it would prevent any other victimization, but the fact that Mr. Reber completely squandered that opportunity, I think it is just a slap in the face of these victims. They indicate that they’re suffering mentally and emotionally due to what happened. Trying to move past the trauma. Scared to leave home without someone. Anxiety. Panic attacks. They feel violated. Angry. Scared. Inability to sleep. Depression. No appetite. Scared to go out in public. Alone. Some of these younger victims were chastised at school. They were made to feel less than. They recalled horrific names because of the situation. Again, you know they’ll have permanent scars from this. They’ll have to deal with the repercussions of these actions for years and years to come. It will affect their ability to have meaningful relationships. It will affect their mental health. It will affect their ability to work properly, and all because Mr. Reber just didn’t care, and he took so much from these very young victims. He took their, I mean he took their innocence, forcibly in some cases.

Betancourt also asked Judge Rood to consider the fact that Reber did not take treatment seriously.

“You know your honor I think that probation is not an appropriate sentence in this case,” said Betancourt. “I think that Mr. Reber has given was given an opportunity to seek treatment at really high level. A very, again, specialized treatment facility that was directly related to, you know this sexual assault behavior. I think that being on probation here, or wherever he’s living now, there’s no way that those communities have the resources to give Mr. Reber more than what he’s already been given with this treatment facility in Minnesota. So, I don’t think that he would benefit from a period of probation. I think that placing Mr. Reber in jail, you know whether that be with Huber (work release), or electronic monitoring, because he has a job, I think would seriously depreciate the seriousness of this offense. I think that these victims, that these actions have caused these victims, a lot of pain. And Mr. Reber, I believe, feels as though there is not going to be any consequences for his actions. I think that there needs to be very strict consequences here. I think Mr. Reber needs to understand that this is not a joke, that it is not a game, and that this kind of behavior is going to be taken seriously, and I don’t think that anything that has been done thus far has has really gotten that message through to Mr. Reber.”

Betancourt also pointed out to Judge Rood that Reber has a history of other charges and still faces numerous other open charges in other counties ranging from driving after revocation to bail jumping.

Reber’s defense attorney Jennifer Lough gave her arguments as to why Reber should be placed on probation with heavy jail sentence that would be stayed, but imposed if he did not follow the conditions of probation.

“This case has been extremely puzzling to me,” said Lough. “Because the person who’s presented in the criminal complaints that are reviewed is a completely different person that’s presented to me. Not only by Mr. Reber, but also by all of the individuals who support him in this community. At the outset of this case in October of 2019, when Mr. Reber was arrested, the defense filed 32 letters with the court requesting that he be released on a signature bond, and honestly 32 letters is a lot. As we sit here today we found an additional 17 letters. Mr. Reber’s parents, his sister and his pregnant fiance, are with us today for the sentencing and they are in support of Mr. Reber.”

Lough asked for leniency for her client because Reber is the sole bread winner for his family.

“He has been gainfully employed since the very beginning of this case,” Said Lough. “In fact, he has been promoted he is now in a management position, and he’s making $37.50 an hour. Which again, for an individual of his age is an accomplishment. He’s 24-years-old and his first child is on the way. His fiance is due on August 1st with a baby girl. As I look at this case and as I look at the resolution that we crafted initially, really everything was based on Mr. Reber’s age, and his personal circumstances. And as we sit here today, he is still only 24-years-old. He hasn’t reached that magic number of each 25 where we believe that the adult brain has been developed, and when I look at him, I hope that that is exactly the issue that we have here, that we have a person who hasn’t gained the impulse control that he needs. Who hasn’t gained the maturity that is required in the society, because he has those things going for him. Because he now has a small life in this world who he has to guide, and because he is in a management position, he is the sole provider for his household. I am asking the court to consider probation. But with that I recognize that the court’s going to have to hang a very heavy hammer over his head. So we would be asking for a substantial prison sentence imposed, and stayed, to keep Mr. Reber on the straight and narrow”

Judge Rood asked Reber if he wanted to say anything before she imposed sentence.

“I suppose I would start out by apologizing to the victims,” Reber said. ‘I was a child back then. I’ve still got a lot to learn. I don’t think you ever stop learning in life. Ive got a fiance and a daughter of my own due in two weeks. I just don’t want her left without a Dad.”

“I appreciate that you apologized to the victims,” said Rood. “I think that is important. I read the victim impact statements. I find the offenses to be very grave. You’ve really taken the future from these victims, these young victims. They will be so impacted by by your actions your actions that were based on selfishness. A total lack of disregard for the victims, which is really interesting to read all the positive statements about what a great guy you are, and it sounds like a lot of people think you are, but for some reason you have this other side that is entitled, and that allows you to engage in behaviors that are totally unacceptable.”

Rood addressed some of arguments for probation.

“So you’re not 25 yet,” said Rood. “You were younger when these offenses happened, but this is not an issue of an immature brain, or making bad decisions. This is an issue of you feeling that you can do whatever you want. I believe the state is right with that. You have the right to impose your will on these very young victims, and it’s, and there’s nothing you can do to give it back to them, but you can be punished. So the first objective to the matter is protecting the public from behaviors, and the second one is punishing you. I’d like to consider rehabilitation but you had such an opportunity, you had a great lawyer, and she negotiated a great resolution for you, and I listened to that testimony from the treatment providers, you just blew it off and you did not take it seriously. And it’s it’s almost like we need to do something significant to get your attention. So that we make certain the public is protected in the future and by doing all this, by just blowing this off not complying, and apparently you haven’t even paid all of the these monies back (restitution) and you’re making $37 an hour.”

Rood went on to impose her reasoning for prison time.

“I’m really not quite sure if you’re remorseful,” said Rood. ” I know that you are crying. I don’t know if you’re remorseful or you’re just very concerned about not being there for your your child, but there are consequences to your behaviors. If there were one victim and then you learned your lesson, but you didn’t. You were even under bond and you you added a similar offense. So it’s a very difficult case because I would like to be able to say, sure now he’s going to do better, we’ll give him another chance, but I think you were given an incredible chance and we even had to have a hearing about your non-compliance and treatment because you weren’t willing to be forthcoming with how you had mishandled that. We had to have a subpoena and the doctors. Well yeah, you probably don’t remember because you didn’t show up for that hearing . That’s the last hearing that we had. There are consequences. You’re hard working everybody says you’re hard working, and that’s great that’s a wonderful attribute but that is not enough. So to offset your aggressive and entitled, especially violent behavior, towards women. I believe that probation would depreciate the seriousness of the offense. You’ve been given a chance so the question is how much prison time, and I think I I believe that the state request is too long. I’m not going to sentence you to seven years. Three in and three out, but I am going to sentence you to two years in and I would like you to be extended supervision for a period of time. So I would like four years of extended supervision. I hate doing this because I know you have a child on the way and she needs her father, but she needs to have a father whose behavior conforms to to the basic requirements of respect two women and it’s a daughter actually respect to women.

Reber asked Judge Rood if he could report to prison after the birth of his child but he was told the state sentence holds an immediate reporting requirement. Judge Rood addressed Reber one more time.

“You know it really gives me no pleasure at all but Mr. Reber,” said Rood. “You have come in here and it looked to me like you, it’s hard to put into words, you’ve gotten away with things, with the sense I got from you and you were thinking you were going to get away and it gives, as I said, it gives me no pleasure doing this, but I believe punishment is a critical factor here and the public needs to be protected.”

Rood did not give Reber credit for the 86 days of treatment to reduce his sentence because she said he had not completed the program. Reber will also be required to give the court a DNA sample and register as a lifetime sex offender.


Previous post – June, 19, 2023

Diversion agreement for 24-year-old Viroqua man revoked in sexual assault case, sentencing scheduled for July

Viroqua, Wis. – Vernon County Circuit Court Judge Darcy Rood revoked a diversion agreement for 24-year-old Silas Reber of Viroqua last week because he failed to complete a mandatory sex offender treatment program as part of a diversion agreement following conviction for sexually assaulting a child in 2021.

According to a criminal complaint in the case, Reber was initially charged in 2019 with three charges, including first degree sexual assault of a child under 16 by use of threat or force, repeated sexual assault of a child and sexual assault of a child under 16 years of age. The charges stemmed an investigation by the Vernon County Sheriff’s office after they received information from Vernon County Human Services about a 14-year-old that had been sexually assaulted in the village of Readstown in October of 2019.

An investigator from the Sheriff’s Office met with the victim at Kickapoo Schools and the victim told the investigator she had been messaging with Reber and met with him at the park in Readstown. The victim said it was raining and Reber told to her to get in his truck to talk. She said she did get in the truck but Reber then forced her into the backseat of his truck. The victim told the investigator she tried to leave and Reber grabbed her wrist and prevented her from opening the door. The victim also said she couldn’t breathe during the incident. The victim stated Reber made her promise not to tell anyone.

The Sheriff’s investigator also learned there were possibly other victims related to the investigation. The investigator later learned from the Viroqua Police Department that they had information about another victim who was 15-years-old that Reber had intercourse with. The criminal complaint states the Viroqua Police had learned that Reber had been hanging out at the Viroqua Schools “picking up young females” around lunch hour every day. One of the victims told Viroqua Police she had intercourse with Reber in his truck at the Viroqua park on more than one occasion.

Viroqua police arrested Reber on October 18, 2019 and questioned him at the Vernon County Detention Center. A Vernon County Sheriff’s investigator also questioned Reber. Reber initially denied sexual contact with anyone underage but eventually admitted to having sexual contact with victim two at the Viroqua park. Reber later admitted to sexual contact with victim one but said it was consensual.

A Viroqua Investigator later talked with a third female that told them she had sexual contact with Reber at a house in Viroqua in 2017 when she was 14. The victim stated to investigators she did not say no to Reber, but she froze and did not know what to do, and eventually got him to stop by kicking him in a knee she knew was injured.

Reber initially plead not guilty to the charges but would eventually reach a plea deal with prosecutors in October of 2021 and plead guilty to the second degree sexual assault of a child charge. That charge is a Class C Felony punishable by up to 40 years in prison and fine of to $100,000. The other two charges were dismissed but read into the record at the time of sentencing. The first degree sexual assault of a child under 16 charge is a Class B Felony punishable by up to 60 years in prison. The repeated sexual assault of a child charge is also a Class C Felony punishable by up to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $40,000.

Under the diversion agreement reached with prosecutors, Reber agreed to attend a sex offender treatment program in exchange for the reduced charges. Reber was enrolled in an inpatient program in Minnesota because that is the state where he had health insurance. Reber attended a 90 day inpatient program in August of 2021 and was unsuccessfully discharged from that program in January of 2022. Reber was readmitted to the program on an outpatient basis in October of 2022 and was allowed to attended via zoom. Reber did not complete that program and was discharged in December of 2023 due to lack of compliance with program requirements, including attendance.

The Vernon County District Attorney’s Office asked for Reber’s diversion agreement to be revoked on May 3. Reber attended that hearing and said it was too difficult to complete the inpatient program because it required travel to Minneapolis and transportation was an issue. Reber said he did not complete the outpatient program via zoom because insurance still required that he travel across the river into Minnesota to attend even by zoom.

Judge Rood postponed a decision on revocation until she could hear directly from counselors about why Reber was discharged. Two therapists, one from the inpatient and one from the outpatient program, testified on June 16 via zoom. Reber was not in attendance, but was represented by his attorney Jennifer Lough.

Both therapists testified that Reber had not taken the program seriously and showed a disregard for the rules. Reber only completed some of the assigned work and was caught breaking the rules in the inpatient program several times including ignoring a no nicotine rule, refusing to wear a mask and was finally discharged after being caught with CBD gummies. The therapist also testified she sensed Reber felt that it was “unfair he was convicted”.

The outpatient therapist said Reber was absent six times which is beyond the three allowed absences, and when he did attend he was often off camera or would refuse to turn the camera on. The therapist gave Reber another opportunity to complete the program even past the six absences if he would attend in person in Minneapolis. The therapist testified that Reber agreed verbally to attend in person but then did not hear from him and he was discharged 12 days later.

Assistant District Attorney Jasmine Betancourt again asked that Reber’s diversion agreement be revoked. Judge Rood agreed to that request and set sentencing in the case for July 19 at 1:00 p.m..

Reber also has numerous open cases in Vernon, Monroe, Grant and Crawford counties on charges that range from traffic offenses including several for operating while revoked, possession of THC and bail jumping.

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