LA CROSSE, Wis. -- A La Crosse pediatrician accused of sexually assaulting a minor is now accused in two more cases. Joseph Thomas Poterucha, 40, faces three felony charges of sexual assault of a minor younger than 13.
Poterucha’s attorney, Jennifer Lough, told La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Gloria Doyle Wednesday that she hadn’t received an amended criminal complaint and asked for a delay for his initial appearance on the other two charges. Doyle agreed and set the appearance for Nov. 3.
Each charge carries a maximum 60-year prison sentence.
According to the amended complaint filed Wednesday, an investigation stemming from the first case led police to pursue at least two other accusations. One involved a girl who was interviewed by La Crosse police on Oct. 14. She told police that Poterucha abused her multiple times and exhibited lewd behavior in her presence.
Police interviewed a third girl Oct. 15, who said she was assaulted by Poterucha more than once.
Poterucha was arrested shortly after police interviewed the first girl on Oct. 14. She told police Poterucha had touched her inappropriately the night before.
During Poterucha’s Oct. 15 bail hearing, La Crosse County assistant District Attorney Eric Sanford said the first allegation was the “proverbial tip of the iceberg.”
Judge Scott Horne set cash bail at $25,000, which Poterucha posted Oct. 18.
Poterucha was practicing at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse at the time of his arrest. In a statement released last Friday, the clinic said Poterucha has been placed on administrative leave and that the clinic is conducting its own investigation. The clinic says none of the charges are related to his care of patients.
This story is published with permission of the La Crosse Tribune.