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Rasmussen: I'm not guilty
Apr 11, 2006 12:00 am
March 31, 2006 Wayne Rasmussen, the 69-year-old Watertown resident who was indicted earlier this month on multiple charges of aggravated sexual battery, represented himself and pleaded not guilty to all charges before Criminal Court Judge J.O. Bond on Thursday.
Before entering and upon exiting court, Rasmussen declined to comment on the four counts of aggravated sexual battery and two counts of sexual battery he faces for allegedly molesting friends of his blind, adopted teenage daughter.
"I'm not guilty," is all Rasmussen would say.
Dressed in a suit and tie, he appeared in court alone and sat for nearly two hours before being called before the judge.
"I am an emeritus professor of law so I feel confident in representing myself pro se for these proceedings," Rasmussen told the court. "I plead not guilty to all counts."
Bond asked if Rasmussen would be able to hire a lawyer.
"I certainly hope so," Rasmussen said. "I am attempting to sell some property to raise the money to pay what I can assume will be a rather hefty fee. And until then I am without any funds at all."
Rasmussen told Bond he had met with "Mr. Kane" regarding representation. After leaving the Wilson County Judicial Center, Rasmussen could be seen entering the law offices of McBrien and Kane, located at 133 South College St. in Lebanon.
Attorney Brody Kane said late Thursday it is likely he will represent Rasmussen, but the two had not yet reached a formal agreement.
Rasmussen has been a resident of Wilson County since he and his wife moved from California in 2001.
Before he left his prior home in Riverside, Calif., Rasmussen was charged in 1999 with the felony child molestation of a friend of his daughter, who was then 8 years old.
In 2001, he pleaded guilty in California to a misdemeanor charge of child molestation and was sentenced to five years probation.
The probation period for the crime ended last month, just before Rasmussen was arrested by Wilson County Sheriff's deputies on multiple counts of sexual battery.
The grand jury indictment charged Rasmussen with allegedly molesting three classmates of his blind daughter, who is a student at the Tennessee School for the Blind in Donelson.
Two of the three victims – all of whom are blind – were under the age of 13 at the time of the alleged incidents. Rasmussen's blind daughter, who is adopted, is believed to be 14 years old. She has not been identified as a victim.
All of the incidents are believed to have taken place at Rasmussen's Watertown home and adjacent farm, according to court documents.
Rasmussen remains free on the $50,000 bond he posted March 15, a day after his arrest.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Lawson asked the judge to condition Rasmussen's release.
"Just as a precaution we would ask that his bond be conditional, that there be no contact with the victims, the families or the school," Lawson told Bond.
The judge consented to the D.A.'s request.
Staff Writer Jared Allen can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 15 or by e-mail at email@example.com.