Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Happ claimed child molester was not sexual predator

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Well, we all saw this coming. Democratic candidate for state attorney general Susan Happ once defended a child molester.

While the case of an admitted child molester who used his wife’s Palymra, Wisconsin daycare to lure victims made state and regional news, the heinous crime of repeatedly molesting children between the ages of 3 and 6, didn’t faze then defense attorney – and now Wisconsin Attorney General candidate – Susan Happ.  Although Clyde Mattsen admitted to habitually molesting children and was originally charged with crimes that could draw up to a 220 year sentence, Happ asked that the molester be freed from prison in just 10 to 12 years.

Mattsen – at the age of 60 – was charged in April of 2000 with five counts of sexually molesting children at his wife’s in-home daycare center in Palmyra, Wisconsin. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s April, 2000 coverage of the case, “Mattsen has admitted, in a taped statement, that 
he molested four children in the past six months. He also admitted molesting a girl two years ago, the [Palmyra police] chief alleged.”

I know some will disagree with me, but this is what defense attorneys do. Everybody hates lawyers until they need one, especially defense attorneys. Sometimes they get cases that the rest of us would just recoil at the thought of them.

That said, I believe Happ’s advocacy for her client crossed a line that should make Wisconsin’s voters uncomfortable with her candidacy. Media trackers reports,

But even with Mattsen admitting to the crimes, Happ attempted to get Mattsen off with an easy sentence. She astonishingly told the court:

…I would note that the offenses for which he has been convicted were crimes of opportunity. These children were in his home; they were in his home for a long time. This is not a person whom society normally would classify as a sexual predator who is stalking children at malls or at parks. And I would ask the Court to consider that in ascertaining the gravity of the offense.

A few pages later in the transcript of the proceedings, Happ again explained that Mattsen was not sexual predator:

Mr. Mattsen is not what society or the law defines as a predator.

I believe that a reasonable person, upon hearing that Happ did not believe her client was a sexual predator, should wonder who Happ would classify as a sexual predator? They might also wonder just how vigorously will Happ prosecute others just like Mattsen if she can’t see them as sexual predators? A reasonable person might even ask if Happ would even defend the state’s sexual predator laws, or even support the right of local communities to determine where a sexual predator could reside when released from prison but still considered a threat by the state?

It’s one thing for a defense attorney to have these monsters for clients, but it’s another thing entirely for an attorney to deny the monstrous nature of these crimes even after her client confessed to them.

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