Questions for the candidates

Dan Steffen

The number two prosecutor in Burnett County has been charged with secretly recording sexual encounters with two women. One of the women alleges the relationship was in exchange for leniency in an ongoing case, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Dan Steffen, 50, Osceola, the Burnett County assistant district attorney (ADA), faces three felony I counts of capturing an intimate representation.

The law defines the charges as "Captur[ing] an intimate representation without the consent of the person depicted under circumstances in which he or she has a reasonable expectation of privacy, if the person knows or has reason to know that the person who is depicted does not consent to the capture of the intimate representation."

According to the criminal complaint, in 2020 Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ)– Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) opened an investigation after an agent learned of a potential a sexual relationship with the ADA and a woman with an open case in the county.

The Burnett County district attorney’s office said Steffen has been placed on administrative leave. District Attorney Jim Rennicke could not be reached for comment.

The complaint alleges the sexual relationship was in exchange for leniency in criminal cases pending in Burnett County.

The victims in the complaint are identified as victim #1 and victim #2.

DCI Special Agent (SA) Mary Van Schoyck interviewed victim #1 in February 2020. She was in Burnett County Jail and had several open cases in the county.

At that time, she denied having any relationship with Steffen.

Then in May, victim #1 admitted to the relationship. She told investigators that Steffen had given her his cell phone number and began texting shortly after that.

Victim #1 said she had sex with Steffen at her residence, his residence and in his office during work hours.

When SA Van Schoyck executed a search warrant at Steffen's home, she found evidence of an ongoing relationship with victim #1. They seized an iPad from Steffen's Osceola home.

On the iPad, agents discovered videos of victim #1 having sex with Steffen.

In one video, Steffen asks victim #1, "Who's in charge?" In the video, he looks at the camera and winks several times.

SA Van Schoyck asked victim #1 about the video and she confirmed it was her. She also told agents she did not know she was being filmed.

Victim #2 was in a third video on the iPad. When agents questioned her, she confirmed it was her in the video. Their relationship was identified as mostly hookups. Victim #2 was also unaware she was being recorded and did not give consent to be filmed.

The complaint does not specify whether or not victim #2 had charges in Burnett County.

Wisconsin DOJ released a statement regarding the charges. They stated Wisconsin DOJ-DCI led the investigation and that Assistant Attorney General David Maas will be prosecuting the case.

The maximum sentence for these felony class I is 3 ½ years per count and a possible $10,000 fine.

He is scheduled to be in court on February 16 in front of St. Croix County Judge Scott J. Nordstrand.