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Charges: Somerset man abused girl, made child porn

A St. Croix County judge set bail at $100,000 Thursday for a Somerset man accused of sexploitation and sexually assaulting a child.

St. Croix Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham ordered bail for Richard A. Maness, who was charged with repeated sexual assault of a child, sexual exploitation of a child, possession of child pornography and child enticement.

Needham noted during the hearing that the maximum penalty on convictions for all four counts would be 150 years in prison — a total he said informed his decision when considering the possibility of flight risk. The appearance of “an ongoing course of conduct” also influenced bond conditions, Needham said, which prohibit Maness from contacting children, possessing firearms or accessing the internet.

Public defender Brian Smestad said coming up with the bail amount is “absolutely impossible” for Maness.

According to a criminal complaint:

Somerset police took a report from a man who said his daughter had been sexually abused. The child, described as being in her pubescent years, told police she had been sexually abused for about three years by a man she knew.

Among the allegations that surfaced were that Maness made the girl undress for him before taking iPhone photos of her. That happened at least 10 times, the child said -- as did sexual assaults.

The allegations led Somerset police to execute a search warrant on Wednesday at Maness’ rented 456 Meadow Lane home, where child porn was found.

Those images includes numerous unidentified children. The photos were in Polaroid, printed and digital formats.

“Also found during the search was a video camera with numerous disks that contained ‘homemade’ videos of naked children,” the complaint states.

Police also found a fireproof safe in his bedroom that contained a  .40-caliber handgun, ammunition, personal belongings and more photos depicting child porn.

St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Cathy Borgschatz said it’s likely additional charges will be filed in the case, which she said is in “the very early stages.”

“We believe there’s multiple victims,” she said Friday.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Jan. 18.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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