CRANDON, Wisc. — A Wisconsin man who was accused of sexually abusing several young girls over a period of six years and performing an abortion on one of them after impregnating her has been sentenced to 60 years behind bars.
According to reports, Matthew Christenson, 34, had been charged with 14 felonies that included sexual assault and child abuse, but he was convicted of just four due to a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child and one count of child abuse/recklessly causing harm after previously pleading not guilty to all charges.
Prosecutors said that pursuing the additional charges would not have lengthened the punishment and they didn’t want to put the victims through a trial. Five of them sat in the courtroom for the sentencing on Monday, as Christenson was sentenced to 60 years in prison, meaning that he will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“I can’t risk you being out,” Judge Patrick O’Melia told Christenson, according to local television station WJFW. “I don’t want you to see children again.”
As previously reported, Christenson was arrested in April 2017 after being accused of molesting five girls, ages 12-17, in January 2010, December 2012, August 2015 and April 2016. Some of the girls are relatives and others are friends of the family. Several told investigators that Christenson gave them alcohol and marijuana, and some said that Christenson repeatedly had sexual relations with them.
Police testified in court last June that when one of the girls was in middle school, she twice became pregnant with Christenson’s child. She told police that the first time, he took her to New Mexico for an abortion, and the second time, the man personally attempted to abort the baby himself. While details have not been provided, the manner in which Christenson sought to terminate the pregnancy has been described as “crude.”
A sixth victim, a boy, told investigators that he had been physically abused by Christenson as he struck him with a switch, canoe paddle, wooden stick, bullwhip, crescent wrench, and fire poker on various occasions. He also told police that he had been kept in the closet and given only a potato to eat.
“It’s the worst case I’ve ever seen,” said Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono. “We deal with homicides [and] attempted homicides. That’s one component of a very horrific crime. To violate a person through sexual assault and to do so repeatedly, I don’t think it gets any worse.”
The late Anglican preacher J.C. Ryle once said, “The Christianity which is from the Holy Spirit will always have a very deep view of the sinfulness of sin. It will not merely regard sin as a blemish and misfortune, which makes men and women objects of pity, and compassion.”
“It will see in sin the abominable thing which God hates, the thing which makes people guilty and lost in his Maker’s sight, the thing which deserves God’s wrath and condemnation. It will look on sin as the cause of all sorrow and unhappiness, of strife and wars, of quarrels and contentions, of sickness and death—the curse which cursed God’s beautiful creation, the cursed thing which makes the whole earth groan and struggle in pain. Above all, it will see in sin the thing which will ruin us eternally, unless we can find a ransom,—lead us captive, except we can get its chains broken,—and destroy our happiness, both here and hereafter, except we fight against it, even unto death.”