By Jim Hagerty
OSHKOSH, Wis. – Although he called recent clashes with his court clerk a simple disagreement, former Brendan Dassey lawyer and now Judge Len Kachinsky has been charged with stalking her.
A felony charge of stalking and two misdemeanor charges of violating a restraining order against Kachinsky were announced Wednesday, a week after he was jailed and released.
Kachinsky is free on bond, and is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 6.
Authorities allege that Kachinsky has been stalking his clerk for more than a year. They say also say retaliated against her for seeking the restraining order. The clerk claims after she sought the order, Kachinsky filed undue letters of reprimand against her, which threatened her employment. Before that, she says he sent her personal emails and posted personal information about her on social media. She says she asked him to stop and that they keep their relationship professional and focused on work.
According to the complaint, on one occasion, Kachinsky made “cat noises” toward the clerk for 45 minutes and sent her an email that allegedly said to stop “using the village administration as a crutch” and that he can’t “tolerate a weakling unwilling to have free and open discussion with the boss.” Last fall, he allegedly sent her bizarre messages about “fire and fury” in the municipal building. Kachinsky was questioned by Fox Crossing Police Chief Tim Seaver about the emails and he reportedly told the chief they were not meant to be violent.
The initial restraining order was filed in February and extended in June. It prohibits Kachinsky from having contact with the clerk other than through work-related functions and communications. Police say not only did Kachinsky disregard the order, he emailed his clerk “almost immediately after his hearing.”
Kachinsky could not be reached for comment. He denied the allegations in previous reports, saying the situation stems from a “disagreement between a boss and employee about how things should be run and how the personal rapport should be in the office,” and that “it’s something that happens in offices all over the country.”
If he’s convicted, Kachinsky faces five years in prison. He’s currently suspended.
Kachinsky emerged as one of several villains accused of framing “Making a Murderer” subjects Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach when the documentary was released in December 2015. He was Dassey’s public defender but was removed from the case when he allowed Dassey, then 16, to be questioned without his presence. He’s also been excoriated for advising Dassey to testify against Avery and accept a plea agreement that would have likely resulted in a 15-year prison sentence. Dassey rejected the offer and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 2048.
Dassey’s current lawyers have argued all the way to the United States Supreme Court that he was coerced by police, but the court refused to hear the case.
Avery attorney Kathleen Zellner is currently battling to introduce new evidence in his bid for a new trial. She claimed in a lengthy motion filed earlier this month that police mishandled information on a computer found in Dassey’s house. On that computer, she claims, were images of violent pornography and at least one of Teresa Halbach. She says Bobby Dassey, Brendan’s brother, had access to that computer and should have been considered a suspect back in 2005.
Dassey’s stepfather, Scott Tadych; Halbach’s ex-boyfriend, Ryan Hillegas; and her roommate, Scott Bloedorn, were also viable suspects, Zellner claims. Police, she says, disregarded them and only focused on Avery. R.