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Judge finds probable cause in professor’s sexual assault case

October 11, 2011

Probable cause exists to pursue criminal charges against UW-River Falls music Professor Thomas William Barnett, a St. Croix County Circuit Court judge has ruled.

Judge Eric J. Lundell made the ruling at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing Oct. 11 in Hudson. Barnett is charged with second-degree sexual assault of a child and false imprisonment, according to the criminal complaint.

The preliminary hearing, the first part of which was held Oct. 4, saw three witnesses testify, including the victim and her former boyfriend. The other witness was an assistant manager at the Hudson Theatre, where the assault is alleged to have happened Aug. 16.

Barnett’s arraignment is scheduled for 2 p.m. Nov. 10 in the St. Croix County Circuit Court in Hudson. At the arraignment, Barnett will be formally charged and is expected to enter a plea.

Barnett is still on paid administrative leave from the University.