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Music professor faces sexual assault charge

September 3, 2011

A UW-River Falls music professor has been charged with second degree sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl, according to a criminal complaint filed in St. Croix County District Court in Hudson.

Professor Thomas William Barnett, who is in his 10th year at UWRF, was charged after an alleged incident at the Hudson Theatre on Aug. 16.

According to the complaint, Barnett approached the girl and her 14-year-old boyfriend after their movie was finished. Authorities allege Barnett identified himself as part of the security for the movie theater and said that he needed to speak to the girl alone.

According to the complaint, Barnett said he had video footage of the girl that he would post on the news and Internet unless she let him touch her.

Along with being charged with sexual assault of a child, Barnett is also facing false imprisonment charges. If convicted of the sexual assault charge, Barnett could face a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a fine of $100,000. The false imprisonment charge could result in a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Barnett has a preliminary hearing at the St. Croix County Circuit Court scheduled for Sept. 21.

Barnett lives in Baldwin, Wis. He teaches applied trumpet, River Falls Brass, music theory and brass techniques, according to the UWRF website.

For more information on this story, see the print edition of the Student Voice which will be published on Sept. 23.