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Sex assault victim files $500,000 claim against Wood County

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The Justice Frederick. Copper engraving, 17 x 21 cm. Berlin State Library - Prussian Cultural Heritage Manuscripts Department, YB 9740 kl By artwork: Vincenzo Vangelisti *file: James Steakley [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Justice Frederick. Copper engraving, 17 x 21 cm. Berlin State Library - Prussian Cultural Heritage Manuscripts Department, YB 9740 kl By artwork: Vincenzo Vangelisti *file: James Steakley [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis (WSAU) An 18-year-old sexual molestation victim has filed a claim against Wood County for a half-million dollars. The woman says she was fondled while she slept by another patient at a mental health facility the county runs.

Her lawsuit claims that she told supervisors about the incident, but they refused to take action. She says the matter was only investigated when she threatened to tell the news media about it.

The lawsuit also says staff violated their own policies by not immediately reporting the incident to police.

Charges of 4th degree sexual assault were charged against 40-year-old Steven Wenta of Marshfield in connection with the case. He was in the acute psychiatric wing at Norwood Mental Health Hospital at the time. Norwood is conducting its own internal investigation.

Wood County has four months to either pay the claim or deny it. If the claim is rejected, the victim has another six months to decide if she'll file a lawsuit.

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