NEW INFORMATION: Two more charges against man accused of sexually assaulting a child

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

NEW INFORMATION: Two more charges against man accused of sexually assaulting a child

(WEAU) - There are two new charges against a man we first told you about on Monday night.

Online court records show Dennis Hess, 42, now faces a second set of repeated sexual assault of the same child and child exploitation charges. Last week, police arrested Hess at his home in Bruce on allegations he sexually assaulted a child in Altoona.

Police say it happened over a ten year period and they found computer evidence that led them to believe more kids are involved. It says those kids may not just be in Altoona.

Police are urging parents to contact their local law enforcement agency if they have concerns.

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- "I believe there are additional children in Northwestern Wisconsin that are affected by Dennis Hess' activity," said James Small, Chief of Police in Altoona.

To understand Dennis Hess' activity and the allegations against him, you have to go back to 1997. A criminal complaint accuses him of sexual assaulting a boy over a ten year period, beginning in 1997 and going through 2007.

"And that was involving a child that was under 16 years of age at the time of assaults," Small added.

The criminal complaint says that abuse happened in Altoona, at a home near the tank farms in Lake Hallie, and in Bruce.

Another disturbing discovery during the investigation: police found a thumb drive in his pocket with more than 10,000 images of child pornography.

"There's evidence being processed right now as we talk at the Chippewa Valley Forensics Lab in Eau Claire," Small said.

Altoona Police have a warning for parents, who have kids that would have been anywhere near Hess.

"I believe there are additional children in Northwestern Wisconsin that are affected by Dennis Hess' activity," Small added.

Small says Hess worked as a truck driver and would only say Hess has access to children through a "variety of means."

"It's definitely a possibility there are children in other jurisdictions that may have been affected by this," he said.

Small's department just got done with a large case involving former daycare worker Thomas West, who just last week was sentenced to 24 years in prison on six counts of child sexual assault.

Small says this case began unfolding within the last couple of weeks.

"I guess at this point we don't know what the full scope of what this is going to be," he said.

Now, his concern is getting the word out to parents.

"I think the important thing is to get them access to people who can determine if there is a problem or not," Small said.


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