By Mike Johnson of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Sept. 29, 2009
Town of Brookfield detective Tony Bertram
Waukesha — A Town of Brookfield police detective arrested Monday is suspected of trying to extort a horse from a woman in exchange for his promise not to tell authorities that he was sexually assaulted by the woman's sister when he was a child, according to a court document filed Tuesday.
The woman's sister denied that she abused detective Anthony Bertram, 36, when he was a boy, according to the document filed by Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel during a court appearance for Bertram.
No charges were formally filed against Bertram on Tuesday, but Waukesha County Court Commissioner Martin Binn said that based on the affidavit filed for a search warrant there was probable cause to believe that Bertram committed a crime and set bail at $5,000 for him.
Binn gave Schimel until Nov. 2 to file a criminal complaint against Bertram.
Bertram, of Waukesha, has been placed on paid administrative leave by the Town of Brookfield Police Department, which has launched a separate internal investigation, Capt. Tim Imler said.
Bertram has been with the department since April 30, 2001, and earns about $63,000 annually.
According to the affidavit filed by Waukesha Sheriff's Detective Robert Wepfer:
Bertram approached a woman at a horse show Sept. 19 at her family farm in the Hartford area in Washington County.
Bertram had taken horseback riding lessons from the woman when he was a child. He told the woman that her sister, now 48, had sexually assaulted him on an ongoing basis when he was between 11 and 14 years old.
He said it ruined his life and he had spent thousands of dollars on therapy, the affidavit states.
He told the woman he was aware that her sister owned several horses, including one he saw for sale on the Internet for $20,000.
Then he told her he wanted closure and that he had a solution: If his sister gave him a horse, he would provide papers from his attorney stating that he would never pursue criminal charges or civil court action against the sister, the affidavit says.
Bertram told the woman he had made arrangements with a female friend who would pick up a horse and board it at her property. Bertram sent the woman an e-mail on Sept. 20 confirming that he would provide a civil and criminal release in exchange for the horse, the affidavit says.
The woman instead went to the authorities. At one point, investigators recorded a phone conversation Bertram had with the woman during which he said he wanted photographs and papers for the horse and suggested the woman send them to his work e-mail address.
On Sept. 21, he sent an e-mail from the Police Department requesting a photo of the horse, the affidavit says.
The sheriff's departments in Waukesha and Washington counties conducted a joint criminal investigation into Bertram. The Town of Brookfield Police Department learned of the investigation only about 1:45 p.m. Monday during a meeting with Waukesha County detectives, Imler said.
At Tuesday's court appearance, Binn ordered Bertram to have no contact with the woman and her sister, to continue mental health treatment and not to possess any weapons.
Paul Bucher, Bertram's attorney, said Bertram was devastated by the allegations. Bucher said it was a complicated matter and declined to discuss the circumstances of the case.
"We want to make sure he gets the help he needs. We're grateful that we have at least 30 days to be able to look at this and work it out," Bucher said.
Click to view image: 'bf3177d864b5-bertram_185.jpg'
Tags: cop, horse, extortion, false molestation charge
Location: Waukesha, Wisconsin, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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