Rape Crisis Center questions why man convicted of child sex assault likely won’t serve prison time

Police and advocates for sexual assault survivors are asking why a Madison man who was convicted of repeated sexual assault of a child likely won’t serve any prison time.

In Dane County Circuit Court Monday, Judge John Hyland sentenced Nathan Andrews McQuillen, 45, to five years of probation. The judge imposed and stayed McQuillen’s sentence of three years in prison and five years of extended supervision, meaning he will serve prison time if he seriously violates his probation.

“I think it feels like a slap on the wrist,” said Erin Thornley Parisi, executive director of the Rape Crisis Center.

Following the judge’s decision Monday, Waunakee police told News 3 Now they were “disappointed and surprised” to learn of the ruling because a child was involved, there were repeated acts and the suspect was aware of the victim’s age.

McQuillen started a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old who had placed an ad on Craigslist in 2016, according to a criminal complaint. The teen initially told McQuillen he was 18, but revealed his real age eventually.

Court documents show between July 2016 and March 2018, the teen and McQuillen met in multiple places, including a Waunakee church, a wooded area in Waunakee and a car, to have sexual encounters. McQuillen picked up the teen in a Mercedes-Benz at different locations in Waunakee and they shopped and took walks in the Madison area, according to the complaint.

Waunakee police first received an anonymous tip from the teen’s friend in August 2016 regarding the teen’s relationship with an older adult. Detectives said the teen initially denied having a sexual relationship with an adult.

In April 2018, during an interview with Safe Harbor, the teen provided information about a relationship with McQuillen. The teen said the sexual encounters were consensual and said the relationship was not abusive and made him happy, according to the complaint.

The teen said he and McQuillen first met in person in July 2016, when they engaged in a sexual act at St. John’s Church in Waunakee, according to the complaint. He said they met off and on for the remainder of the year and really got to know each other the following spring.

The teen said the two arranged meetings via the social media site Kik and an app called Telegram. The teen said he and McQuillen also exchanged sexual pictures with one another.

McQuillen was charged with repeated sexual assault of a child, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime and child enticement. He took a plea deal and, in September, pleaded guilty to repeated sexual assault of a child. The two other charges were dropped but were read into the record Monday.

The conditions of his probation include six months of jail time, which the judge also stayed. McQuillen is required to continue treatment for ongoing mental health needs, register as a sex offender and complete the Department of Corrections sex offender treatment. He also cannot have any contact with minors or the victim and the victim’s family.

Thornley Parisi said someone as young as 13 is unable to consent to sex, but she feels not mandating prison time doesn’t send that message.

“It gets a little old that we don’t take sexual assault very seriously, that in our criminal justice system we continue to treat this as a not very serious crime,” she said.

During the time of the sexual encounters, McQuillen was employed at WORT-FM radio in Madison as an information technology and maintenance director. David Devereaux-Weber, president of the WORT board of directors, told News 3 Now that McQuillen’s employment ended in April 2018 but said he could not say why.

In May 2018,​​​​​ police issued a search warrant at a home on Union Street in Madison as part of their sexual assault investigation. Officers talked to a woman at the home who said she met McQuillen online more than three years ago via Craigslist. The woman said she moved had from California to Madison and that she was in a relationship with McQuillen.

Officers showed the woman photos of McQuillen and the teenager in a vehicle, according to the complaint. The woman identified McQuillen as the adult but said she did not know who the teen was. She also identified the vehicle as her own, but said McQuillen often drove it, according to the complaint.

Hyland’s office told News 3 Now in a statement that judges take many factors into consideration when making rulings, but the court does not comment on sentences beyond remarks made during the sentencing hearing.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and McQuillen’s attorney, Jordan Loeb, did not respond to News 3 Now’s repeated requests for comment.

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