Welton Sentenced to Four Years for Sexually Assaulting Two Girls

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Kevin Murphy

MADISON–A Middleton man found guilty of sex assault of two young girls occurring about 10 years apart in Harbor Athletic swimming pools was sentenced Monday to four years in prison and four years extended supervision.

The sentence Dane County Circuit Judge Susan Crawford imposed on Kevin D. Welton, 59, was less than half of what the prosecution or victims’ family members sought.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Torbenson asked for a 10-year prison sentence saying that Welton “had perfected the methodology of assaulting children under water,” in incidents that happened in 2010 and again in June 2018.

“He took advantage children counting on what they would misinterpret as incidental contact…but we know it was grabbing and squeezing,” Torbenson said.

The victim of the 2010 incident told Crawford on Monday that as a six-year-old she saw Welton’s “creepy eyes” follow her around the pool and then waited until “his hand rubbed my body.”

“He selfishly hurt two little girls,” she added.

The impact on her continues, she said.

“I’ve lost all faith and trust in society. I’m more aware of old men and less trusting of them,” she said.

The girl’s father asked Crawford to impose at least nine years, the amount of time his daughter has suffered since the assault.

The sentence should do two things, “tell future victims that they should report (sex crimes) and allow my daughter to begin healing,” he said.

A written message from the mother of the 2018 victim stated that Welton had “caused extreme pain and suffering in my family.”  

“I believe he’s been at it awhile. I don’t believe he took an eight-year wait been assaults,” Assistant District Attorney Erin Karshen read from the message of the mother of the seven-year-old victim.

“He’s the true epitome of evil…I hope he dies (in prison),” Karshen read.

Torbenson said Welton continues to blame the victims and their parents and refuses to take responsibility for his offenses. That denial makes him a continued danger to the community.

“Prison is the only way to protect the community until he completes treatment for his conduct,” he said.

Seeking a probation-only sentence, Welton’s attorney, Robert Ruth, said this was his client’s first offense, he’s done charity work, been a church volunteer, has letters of support from 16 friends and family, and has been “a good, productive law-abiding citizen.”

Ruth admitted Welton hasn’t accepted responsibility for his actions, “but this is so humiliating for him. Acceptance doesn’t come at once.”

Welton has begun counseling and “is on the road to fully accepting responsibility,” Ruth said.

While Welton faced a maximum statutory penalty of 60 years for each First-Degree Assault conviction, Crawford acknowledged that the statute encompasses a broad range of sexual activity. Not trying to minimized Welton’s conduct or the harm to his victims, his conduct is less severe than many of the cases she has presided over.

She commended the two girls for their “courage and strength,” in coming forward to authorities and testifying before a jury as to what happened to them.

Welton is already a repeat offender as the first incident was 10 years ago, and while reported to Middleton police, it resolved by having Harbor Athletic staff “keep an eye,” on Welton, said Crawford. However, that was insufficient to keep Welton from re-offending.

Although there is the possibility of incidental contact in swimming pools which would give Welton some “plausible denialability,” Crawford doesn’t dispute the jury’s finding that Welton’s underwater contact of the two girls was intentional.

The four-year prison sentence should provide some general deterrence as these crimes carry significant consequences, the judge said.

Welton will be on the state’s sex offender registry “so others can take precautions in their interactions with him,” and will be closely monitored while on extended supervision. 

He must undergo any proscribed sex offender treatment and have no contact with his victims or with minors without approval of his probation agent.

Welton was remanded into custody after the proceedings.

After court, the father of the 2010 victim declined to comment on Welton’s sentence.

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