OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Outagamie County Sheriff's Office is addressing concerns from horse owners about a report of a convicted horse molester driving past a farm in the county.
Generic horse stock photo: MGN
On Aug. 3, the sheriff's office took a complaint from a resident who believed Sterling Rachwal had been driving near her farm and looking at her horses.
A Facebook post on a horse page claimed he had been spotted driving a beige station wagon on County Road D near New London.
"The description we got was a male, potentially being Sterling, driving a car past a farm on a country road and that he slowed down in front of the farm and was looking at horses," says Sgt. Nathan Borman, Outagamie County Sheriff's Office.
Rachwal is a familiar name among horse owners in the area. He's been arrested several times for molesting horses.
In January, Rachwal was sentenced to probation for misdemeanor animal mistreatment charges. He had been caught molesting horses in Brown County and Manitowoc County.
As part of his sentence, Rachwal was ordered to have no contact with properties that have horses. Still, locals are on edge.
Randy Euhardy lives next door to a family who owns horses. His neighbor was concerned about the possible Rachwal-sighting.
Euhardy told us, "Lucy come over and she heard that Sterling got out again and said, 'Can you keep an eye on my horses and make sure they're not being pestered by somebody?'"
On Monday, the Outagamie County Sheriff's Office made a post on Facebook saying they had checked in with Probation and Parole and confirmed it was not Rachwal spotted in Outagamie County looking at horses. Rachwal wears a GPS monitoring bracelet and "is closely monitored by his supervising agent."
"He's not allowed out of the City of Green Bay without permission," Borman says. "He was not in Outagamie County over the weekend, so we have no reason to believe at this time that it was him."
Borman urges residents to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement. He advises against taking the law into your own hands.
"We don't want people arming themselves or being inappropriate, doing dangerous behaviors that should be handled by law enforcement. If you see something suspicious, give us a call," Borman says.
Rachwal has been charged with crimes related to the sexual abuse of animals in at least four counties during the last three decades. He's spent time in jail and in psychiatric institutions.
Animal mistreatment is a misdemeanor in Wisconsin, meaning he cannot be sentenced to prison.
State Rep. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) wrote a bill to make animal molestation a felony in Wisconsin. The State Senate declined to take that bill to a vote.