Bail for man with sex assault conviction thrown out

 A man whose sex assault conviction from 1990 was.thrown out by a Dane County judge moved closer to freedom Thursday, with his bail involving no cash.

Before he can be released from the Dane County jail, a probation hold on 59 year old Richard Beranek must be lifted.

Beranek was convicted in 1990 in the stranger sex assault of a Town of Dunn woman. Judge Daniel Moeser sentenced him to 243 years in prison on nine felony counts.

Moeser June 9 ruled Beranek's conviction as vacated, pointing to an FBI expert's exaggerated testimony on whether a hair recovered from the crime scene belonged to Beranek, and more recent DNA testing ruling him out as the source of the hair.

In setting bail Thursday, Judge Nicholas McNamara said Beranek must be considered an innocent man, and cash bail was unnecessary to assure he would show up for any future court appearances. Beranek has two, previous sex related convictions, and McNamara ordered Beranek be subject to GPS monitoring when released.

Beranek served thirty years in prison, and has technically not served probation for one of his previous sex crimes. Beranek's attorney Bryce Benjet says he hopes the state hold will be resolved and Beranek be released quickly.

Assistant Attorney General Robert Kaiser refused comment after Thursday's bail hearing on whether he would retry Beranek. Kaiser prosecuted Beranek's case in 1990.

Wisconsin Department of Justice officials could appeal Moeser's vacating of Beranek's conviction.

Wisconsin Department of Corrections officials have yet to comment on their plans related to Beranek's probation hold.

During Thursday's hearing, Beranek's attorneys questioned why a psychologist tried to visit Beranek in the Dane County jail recently. Kaiser said state officials may be considering trying to classify Beranek as a sexually violent person and commit him to a mental health facility through a civil court process.

Thursday's court hearing was attended by supporters if Beranek, and the daughter of the Town of Dunn sexual assault victim.

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