Friday’s preliminary hearing involving Dan Steffen, the number two prosecutor in Burnett County and Osceola native, was brief.
The 50-year-old was charged last month with three felony I counts of capturing an intimate representation.
St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Nordstrand ruled there was enough probable cause a felony was committed. Furthermore, Steffen’s attorney, Bruce Anderson of Balsam Lake, announced Steffen was pleading not guilty to all three counts.
The law defines the charges as “captures 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 a woman had openly talked about a sexual relationship with Steffen.
The complaint alleges the sexual relationship was in exchange for leniency on criminal cases pending in Burnett County.
The victims in the complaint are identified only as victim #1 and victim #2.
DCI Special Agent Mary Van Schoyck interviewed victim #1, who was in Burnett County jail at the time, denied the relationship in February 2020 and said she only met Steffen a couple of times in court. At that time, she had several open cases in Burnett County.
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 she. 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 she 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.
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 a felony class I is 3 ½ years per count and a possible $10,000 fine.
The next court date is a 9:30 a.m., pre-trail scheduling conference scheduled for May 3.