Plea & sentencing hearing set for Rachwal on horse abuse charges

Sterling Rachwal (Brown Co. Jail)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) – Cases in two counties against a man accused of improper actions with horses will remain separate actions – with both cases drawing closer to conclusions.

Sterling Rachwal is charged in Brown and Manitowoc counties for separate incidents earlier this year. At one point, prosecutors discussed merging that cases, but after a hearing Monday, that will not happen, according to court records.

In Brown County, a plea and sentencing hearing is now scheduled for Jan. 12. Rachwal faces charges for allegedly having inappropriate contact with a horse on Feb. 17 on a town of Eaton farm. Rachwal denied assaulting the horse, though police said a boot print appears to match boots found at his apartment. He faces three misdemeanor counts, including intentionally mistreating an animal.

Also Monday, Rachwal’s attorney withdrew a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect for the Brown County case, court records say.

In Manitowoc County, trial is scheduled for Dec. 14. Video captured by a trail camera shows a horse being assaulted April 29 by someone that appears to be Rachwal. He faces two misdemeanor counts in that case, including intentionally mistreating an animal.

Rachwal has multiple convictions across the area dating back to 1983. In some cases, he has been found not guilty due to mental disease or defect.

Recently, state Rep. Andre Jacque started circulating a bill to make sexual assault of an animal a felony.

Earlier this year, FOX 11 Investigates explored Rachwal's history and why he continues to be released.

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