By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — A former Wausau paramedic and firefighter could spend up to 8 1/2 years in prison after we was convicted Tuesday of sexually assaulting a patient in an ambulance.

Clifford J. Heiser. Photo courtesy of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department

Clifford “CJ” Heiser appeared Tuesday, Sept. 17 for a plea hearing in Marathon County Circuit Court, the same date a jury trial was set to begin. The trial was removed from the court calendar late Monday after Heiser, 34, reached a last-minute plea deal with prosecutors.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Heiser was convicted of two counts each of fourth degree sexual assault and misconduct in office. The misconduct charges are both felonies. An additional misconduct charge, along with a charge of third degree sexual assault, were both dismissed but read into the record for consideration at sentencing.

Circuit Judge Greg Huber ordered a presentencing investigation be completed before Heiser is sentenced.

An investigation began in September 2017 after a 29-year-old patient came forward accusing Heiser of sexually assaulting her in the back of an ambulance. He was arrested by Wausau police after they received DNA results that showed Heiser’s saliva on the woman’s breast. Heiser was transporting the woman to a local hospital when the assault took place.

The Wausau Fire Department placed Heiser on administrative leave when the investigation began. He resigned shortly afterward.

Heiser remains free on bond. A sentencing date has not yet been set.