Accuser Believes Time Has Arrived
Wisconsin Authorities Charge Former WD Teacher with Child Abuse
By Eileen Mozinski
Telegraph Herald [Dubuque IA]
May 10, 2006
When Richard Hinde's three daughters reached the age that he was when he said he was sexually abused, he could no longer stay silent.
"It's important for those of us victims that can do it to come forward," he said. "In some cases the punishment to the perpetrator is less important than us telling our story."
The Barron County (Wis.) District Attorney has filed a criminal complaint against former Western Dubuque teacher Dale J. Soppe. "I think it's time that he carries his burden," said Hinde, 49, of Hillsdale, Wis.
On Monday, Soppe, 70, of Fairfield, Iowa, was charged with indecent behavior with a child for an incident in the summer of 1969 at Hinde's home in Barron County. Hinde requested that the Barron County Sheriff's Department investigate the matter.
If convicted, Soppe faces up to 10 years in prison.
The abuse also happened earlier, Hinde said, during his seventh-grade year in Epworth, Iowa, when Soppe was his math and homeroom teacher, and basketball coach.
Hinde said he didn't tell anyone about the incidents in Epworth because his family left for Barron County after the 1968-69 school year.
"I had a history of seizures and I was taking heavy doses of anticonvulsants. It caused side effects that interfered with my ability to speak and think clearly," said Hinde, who said Soppe knew of the medicine he was taking and its effects.
There were anywhere from 50 to 100 incidents of indecent behavior, according to Hinde, who said some occurred on basketball trips and others behind Soppe's "tall desk" while other children were in the classroom.
According to the complaint, Soppe stated "that he knew (Hinde) real well and that he is very honest. Soppe did recall coming to the Hinde residence in Barron County, but did not recall whether (there had been any abuse)."
In his written statement, Soppe says, "I do remember the trip I took to your place in 1969. Any pain I caused there I am very sorry."
Charges could not be brought for the alleged incidents in Epworth because of the expired statute of limitations. Charges against Soppe were brought in Wisconsin because he left the state, which effectively "stopped the clock" on the statute of limitations.
He also said nothing after Soppe visited Barron County the following summer and molested him again because he wanted to protect his parents.
"My parents were 62 and 57 at that point. I was the last of six children," Hinde said. "We were raised to think that somebody who'd gone to seminary was above the rest of us."
Soppe, who authored two books and later left teaching to become a therapist, studied for the priesthood for several years, according to biographical information in one of his books.
Hinde, who is now a cheesemaker, called Soppe in 2004 because he had "some lingering questions."
Soppe told Hinde that he had been sexually abused as a child, the same thing he told Barron County investigators, according to the complaint.
"What I want for (Soppe) is for the general public to know what he's done. I want him watched. It's to protect the children; it's too late to protect me," he said. "I think the fact that the public will know will be more damaging to him than prison time."
Soppe did not return calls from the Telegraph Herald. He is scheduled for an initial court appearance in Barron County at 10 a.m. June 21.
It is not the policy of the TH to publish the names of claimants involved in a sexual abuse charge. Hinde, however, gave the TH permission to name him.
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