|Gary L. Wayerski|
By Pamela Powers
MENOMONIE - A Dunn County jury deliberated for nearly four hours Friday before handing down 16 guilty verdicts against the former Wheeler police chief accused of having sexual contact with two teenage boys.
Gary L. Wayerski, 56, who was fired from his police chief job, was convicted of two counts of felony child enticement, two counts of exposing genitals, two counts of exposing a child to harmful materials and two counts of causing a child to view or listen to sexual activity.
He also was convicted of eight counts of felony sexual assault of a child by a person who works or volunteers with children.
The boys, ages 16 and 17, told authorities Wayerski spanked and masturbated them on numerous occasions from March to July 2011. Wayerski denied having sexual contact with the boys or showing them pornography.
As the verdicts were read by Dunn County Judge Bill Stewart, Wayerski shook his head, put his hand over his eyes, then laid his head on the courtroom table and sobbed.
Wayerski's sentencing is set for Jan. 9.
Special prosecutor Ben Webster said the jurors reached the right decision.
"Ultimately it comes down to the details the kids provided, the stories they told about what they endured," Webster said.
Wayerski's attorney, Lester Liptak, said he will appeal the conviction.
"My client still maintains his innocence," Liptak said.
During closing arguments, Webster said Wayerski violated the trust of two teens boys whom he was mentoring after they were arrested for breaking into a church.
"What he did was predatory, premeditated," Webster said. "They were vulnerable boys at the time and that is exactly what the defendant was looking for."
Webster said Wayerski groomed the boys before touching them sexually on multiple occasions. Police say he viewed pornography with them, and they discovered pornographic images and videos on Wayerski's computer.
"The significance of those pictures shows the defendant's mindset," Webster said. "He was sexually attracted and interested in teenage boys."
During closing arguments, Liptak said the two boys were thieves and drug users. Wayerski isn't a criminal because he had sexual images on his computer, Liptak said.
"Some people watch porn to release stress," Liptak said. "There is nothing wrong with that."