Richland Center police chief facing multiple sexual assault charges

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RICHLAND CENTER, Wis. (WMTV)-- Multiple sexual assault charges were filed against the Richland Center police chief on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Lucas Clements, Richland Center Chief of Police

According to a criminal complaint filed in Richland County Circuit Court, Chief Lucas Clements inappropriately touched a bartender on June 16. The document states Clements was not in uniform when he entered the Richland County restaurant and bar around 9 p.m. The victim believed Clements was already intoxicated when he entered the business, and there were no other customers present.

Richland Center Mayor Michael Kaufman says he nor his predecessors have not experienced such an incident before.

"When you know everybody and then you hear these situations, it's harder on a small town," Kaufman says. "It's been tough and everybody is friends and we're going to remain friends, but we have to do what's right for the community."

Kaufman hopes the community will heal - and such an incident won't repeat itself.

"I know we'll be able to move forward. We have the people in the community and the Pd will pull it back together, things will go on," said Kaufman.

Court documents states the victim knew Clements was the police chief, and considered him a family friend. The victim told investigators Clements ordered two drinks, and she was counting tip money on the bar. According to the criminal complaint, Clements began touching her and made inappropriate comments.

During her interview with investigators, the victim said Clements went into the office area of the business and she followed, leaving the tip money on the bar. Court documents state surveillance video showed the victim and Clements talking in the office, and he touched her inappropriately while she left the office.

When she returned to the office, she was at the office computer, when Clements inappropriately touched her again, according to court documents. The victim returned to the office a third time and found Clements on a bench in the office’s bathroom and shower area. The criminal complaint states the victim told investigators she was groped in the bathroom for roughly five minutes. The victim told a co-worker to call one of the restaurant’s owners and waited out in the parking lot.

According to the criminal complaint, Clements went into the kitchen and asked where he could find the victim. The co-worker told investigators Clements grab a beer from a cooler, open it and then leave the bar with an open beer in his hand. Surveillance video showed him placing a dollar bill on the cooler before leaving the building.

Court documents state the victim returned to the restaurant after Clements left and one of the owners arrived. The victim noticed her tip money, totaling $340, was missing from the bar. Investigators described the surveillance video showing Clements grabbing something off of the bar when he left the building, but the video did not clearly show the money on the bar.

According to the criminal complaint, Clements told investigators the victim was flirting with him and he followed her into the office where she grabbed him. He said the contact between them was mutual.

On Tuesday, Oct. 29, three fourth degree sexual assault charges and a single theft charge of property valuing less than $2,500 were filed against Clements in Richland County Circuit Court.

A court date for Clements has not been scheduled yet, according to the Richland County District Attorney's Office. The Wisconsin Department of Justice hired a special prosecutor to investigate Clements in August.

Clements was placed on paid administrative leave in June.

In 2013, Clements, then a lieutenant with Richland Center police, was under investigation after receiving four traffic citations.That investigation was started after Clements allegedly drove into a guard rail, and allegedly had been drinking before the accident.

According to the Richland Center Police Department's website, Clements has served since 2003.

If convicted on all charges, Clements faces up to three years in prison and up to $40,000 in fines.