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Former Guard member from Dickinson sentenced to probation on molestation charge

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The Dickinson Press
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A Walhalla man who is a member of the Army National Guard will be on supervised probation for two years for allegedly molesting a girl in a Dickinson motel, Stark County Assistant State's Attorney Jim Hope said Tuesday.

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The gross sexual imposition charge Charles Rousseau, 47, is facing will be dismissed after five years if he complies with a pretrial diversion ordered during a hearing at the Stark County Courthouse Tuesday, Hope said.

"The person does not enter a plea, basically the prosecution is deferred subject to certain conditions and that's what happened in this particular case," Hope said about the diversion. "He went through all the testing and everything and the court reviewed all the facts and the court got what was the equivalent of a very, very thorough investigation before it made its decision to accept it."

Hope said a pretrial diversion is used "very rarely," and Rousseau's military involvement played a part in the decision to use it.

If Rousseau breaks any laws or conditions of the diversion within five years, the case will likely be prosecuted, Hope said.

"Technically, he's not sentenced either," Hope said. "Technically the prosecution has been put on hold. If there is a violation of any of the conditions of the deferred prosecution or the pretrial diversion, then the matter can be brought to trial."

However, if Rousseau abides the law, the charge is dismissed and cannot be recharged, Hope said.

He added this case was the first time he had used a pretrial diversion.

"It is appropriate in my opinion to use it in really unusual circumstances, as this one is," Hope said.

Hope did not comment on the nature of the unusual circumstances in this case, stating only that the matters are confidential. He said Rousseau's two military tours in Iraq contributed to the decision.

"Yes that was a factor, the fact he did two tours over there," Hope said.

Rousseau is accused of sexually touching a girl who was younger than 15 in September 2009, according to his criminal complaint.

National Guard spokesperson Bill Prokopyk said Rousseau is still a member of the Guard.

"In layman's terms, you don't just put people out of the military because they're charged with a crime -- they might be completely innocent," Prokopyk said.

"The National Guard will examine the case and see if administrative action from the National Guard is appropriate."

Hope said the alleged victim was consulted before deciding to enter the pretrial diversion.

"This was very carefully thought out and constructed with the participation of the alleged victim's family, yes," he said.

A phone call to Rousseau's attorney, Mary Nordsven, was not returned Tuesday.

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