New trial dismissed in decades-old rape case, cleared

 A judge dismissed a case against a man released from prison after new DNA evidence exonerated him in a decades-old rape case.

Richard Beranek, 59, had his case dismissed Thursday in Dane County Court. 

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

He was granted a new trial in June 2017 after an FBI expert's testimony questioning 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.

The District Attorney requested the case be dismissed to protect the rape victim from having to testify at another trial.

Prior to that case, Beranek had two other sex-related convictions. Beranek served almost 27 years in prison for the 1990 case before he was released in 2017.

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