|Two Sentenced in Separate Sex Abuse Cases
By Chuck Rupnow
July 16, 2008
BARRON - There is no end to the suffering for victims of sexual abuse.
Two men, assaulted as teenagers decades ago, spoke about that pain Tuesday afternoon when their assailants were sentenced to jail.
The perpetrators held positions of trust at the time of the assaults - one was a pastor and the other a teacher.
Victims Doug Guillen of Florida and Richard Hinde of Barron County live hundreds of miles apart yet shared the agony of sexual abuse in separate hearings before Washburn County Judge Eugene Harrington.
Former Rice Lake pastor Angel R. Toro, 57, now of Florida, pleaded guilty in Barron County Court to four misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree sexual assault against Guillen 21 years ago. Toro was originally charged with five felony counts.
Toro, who did not apologize but asked for forgiveness from Guillen and his wife, was sentenced to 18 months in jail, followed by three years of probation.
Dale J. Soppe, 72, a teacher who studied for the Catholic priesthood, was originally charged with felony counts of indecent behavior with a child and enticing a child for immoral purposes related to incidents with Hinde 39 years ago.
Soppe, who matter-of-factly apologized to Hinde and his family in court, pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree sexual assault and had the other charge dismissed. He was sentenced to two years of probation, which includes 60 days in jail, and fined $1,000. A restitution hearing related to expenses Hinde has encountered over the years for counseling will be within 60 days.
Harrington pointed out that Toro and Soppe, in their comments, talked more about their accomplishments, behaviors and meaningfulness to society than they did about the impact the assaults had on the victims.
Soppe, of Fairfield, Iowa, said he was sexually victimized by priests as a child, while Toro called his assault "an isolated incident."
"I am yet to understand how it is ever justified," Harrington said about adults assaulting children. "There isn't an explanation for this type of behavior. It is an abomination."
Guillen and Hinde sat in the courtroom for each other's cases. They shared a similar bond.
"People have no idea what this does to you," Guillen said after the sentencing. "It just doesn't go away. Today the demon went back in the box for me. I feel good."
Guillen spoke in Spanish to call Toro "a pig, a nasty pig" in open court before being rebuked by Harrington.
Guillen said he has already "done 21 years to life" for what Toro did to him. When asked by Harrington what he thought, Guillen said: "I wouldn't tell you what I think. If I tell you what I think, you'll probably throw me right out of the courtroom."
Guillen, 38, casually looked at his fingernails and the ceiling when Toro made his comments. Guillen left the courtroom and said "don't" as Toro looked at Guillen and asked for forgiveness.
Toro assaulted Guillen in the summer or fall of 1987 when Guillen was helping Toro repair a fence at First United Methodist Church. The man said Toro bought beer for the two and assaulted him multiple times that day and the next several days at the church.
Soppe sexually assaulted Hinde in Barron County in 1969, and Hinde claims Soppe also assaulted him several years earlier when Soppe was Hinde's teacher and basketball coach in Iowa. Hinde and his family moved to Barron County in the late 1960s.
Charges could not be brought in Iowa for alleged incidents because of the expired statute of limitations. Charges against Soppe were allowed in Wisconsin because he left the state, which stopped the clock on the statute of limitations.
Hinde referred to the sexual abuse he encountered as "murder of the soul," adding that he and other victims are scarred for life. Hinde said Soppe fooled many people and called Soppe arrogant, selfish and delusional.
Soppe, who said he could not remember specifics of the assault, showed little emotion when saying he harmed Hinde. "I was the one with the problem. I am very sorry."
Barron County Assistant District Attorney James Babbitt said it was important for Soppe and Toro to admit their crimes, which assists the victims in their healing process.
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