La Crosse doctor facing charge of first-degree sexual assault

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 6:50 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - A La Crosse doctor who works with children is accused of sexually assaulting a child.

40-year-old Joseph Poterucha, who is a doctor at Mayo Clinic Health System, is charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child under 13.

Poterucha was arrested on Thursday and appeared in La Crosse County Court Friday afternoon.

A criminal complaint says a young girl told investigators Poterucha touched her private areas, and she was scared to say anything.

Poterucha is a doctor of pediatric and adolescent medicine, and also works in intensive care at Mayo Clinic.

The complaint says the alleged incident did not happen at the clinic.

Mayo Clinic has since removed Poterucha’s profile from its website, and said in a statement:

“Mayo Clinic Health System has been informed of the charges involving Dr. Poterucha. Mayo is cooperating with law enforcement, and information Mayo has at this time indicates the charges are not related to his care of patients. Under the circumstances, Mayo has placed Dr. Poterucha on administrative leave as it conducts its own investigation into the situation.”

During Poterucha’s court appearance, Judge Scott Horne said there could be additional victims.

“There was a second allegation involving another young lady, and then apparently a third and, or, fourth alleged victim who are in the process of being interviewed,” Horne detailed.

Due to those interviews, Poterucha was ordered to re-appear in court on Oct. 20 at 2 PM.

Bond was set at $25,000 cash, and Poterucha can not have contact with any minor.

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