Madison – Today, the Wisconsin State Senate Democratic Committee released a Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) report regarding Dave Estenson’s sexual misconduct and abuse of power while serving as a law enforcement officer for both the City of Osseo and the Village of Strum.
The DOJ investigation started in January, 2005 and concluded in March, 2007. The full redacted report is attached. Here are its key findings:
- On October 28th, 2004, while on duty and responding to a call, a female victim claimed that Estenson took her into the backroom of the bar and said that there “were ways to get around this,” implying that she could get out of an underage drinking citation for sexual favors.
- On February 10, 2005, the Police Chief of Osseo reprimanded Estenson, stating that, “his behavior would not be tolerated,” for an incident that occured in a car outside of a local bar. The incident was described as Estenson receiving oral sex from a female who was drinking underage with her father at a local bar. The father of the woman broke up the incident.
- For approximately one year while serving as an officer for the City of Osseo, Estenson was engaged in an intimate relationship with a woman under the age of 21. His ex-partner sat down for an interview with DCI in March, 2007 to talk about her experiences, which included:
- On numerous occasion, Estenson and his partner had sexual intercourse while he was on-duty and in-uniform, and while at the police station where he worked.
- Shortly after the relationship ended, Estenson threatened that she “would have problems if she ever told anyone about their relationship.” saying further that “things would be found in her car that she could be arrested for/cause problems for her.”
- Estenson persistently pressured the woman for certain sexual acts, despite her consistent refusal.
- While at Estenson’s house and under the age of 21, an age of which he was aware, Estenson offered her alcohol on several occasions.
- Estenson made comments to the woman that “as long as she was in an intimate relationship with him that she would never have to worry about getting into legal trouble.”
- In 2007, a then 27 year old woman told investigators that in 1998, Estenson took her into the dimly-lit basement of a house, where both individuals were attending a party. Estenson proceeded to place the victim’s hand on his exposed penis, without her consent. Furthermore, the victim stated to investigators that she had heard rumors that Estenson was pursuing a sexual relationship with a girl who was under the age of 18 at the time.
In June 2007, the Osseo City Council accepted the resignation of Estenson during a closed door session. The WI DCI investigation was closed in July, 2007. Estenson then pursued a law enforcement career in Minnesota, a role from which he also resigned from, following a “performance audit” in 2012.
“The findings of this investigation are beyond the pale and are disqualifying for any individual seeking to hold public office, from that of the Whitehall School Board to the Wisconsin State Senate.” said Eric LaGesse, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Senate Democratic Committee. “For years, Estenson used his position of authority as a police officer to intimidate and coerce women into acts that they repeatedly said no to, among other threats. And when he was finally called to account for his actions, he resigned behind closed doors and fled to Minnesota. Where he also had to “resign”.”
LaGesse continued, “These are the actions of a perverted sexual predator, not of a valid candidate for legislative office. An individual such as this has no business running to represent the people of Western Wisconsin. I urge Estenson to drop out of the race and both apologize to his victims and to get the help that he clearly needs.”