By Shereen Siewert
A 39-year-old Wausau man was convicted this week of assaulting a 12-year-old girl while her mother was at work and her two brothers were in the family home.
Court records show Phillip B. Henle, who is not related to the victim, appeared Tuesday in Marathon County Court and pleaded guilty to an amended charge of second-degree sexual assault of a person younger than 16.
Initially, charges of sexual assault of a child younger than 13, child enticement and exposing genitals to a child were filed in October 2019 against Henle. Wisconsin Department of Corrections records show Henle was on extended supervision at the time the assaults took place.
He has a long string of past convictions including sexual assault, attempted robbery, forgery, robbery with a threat of force, exposing genitals to a minor, obstructing an officer, misappropriation of identification information and bail jumping. The majority of his past offenses were charged in Brown, Winnebago and Outagamie Counties and stretch back for decades, court records show.
An investigation began in July 2019 after the girl disclosed the abuse to her father and stepmother, who called police.
During a forensic interview, the alleged victim said Henle made her “pinky promise” not to tell anyone about the abuse, which she said happened at her mother’s town of Easton home while her mother worked an overnight shift. A check of employment records showed the girl’s mother did work overnight shifts on the dates that coincided with the alleged abuse, according to the criminal complaint.
DOC records show Henle was released from Redgranite Correctional Institution in September 2018. But Wisconsin Department of Corrections records show Henle absconded from community supervision and was at large at the time the charge was filed. He later appeared in court.
Henle, who remains in custody, will be sentenced in September.