Lawyer’s claim of bias delays sex assault sentencing

Teen’s attorney says agent who recommended punishment was influenced by dealings with brother

Alexander Kanios
By 
BILL SCHANEN IV
Ozaukee Press staff

The sentencing of a Saukville teenager guilty of second-degree sexual assault of a child because of his relationship with a younger girl was delayed again Tuesday, this time because his attorney accused a state probation agent of making a biased recommendation that apparently calls for a harsher punishment than the one he and the district attorney agreed to.

Robert Buckett, the lawyer representing 19-year-old Alexander L. Kanios, argued a presentence report that recommended a significantly harsher sentence than the one he and Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol agreed to was unfair because the Department of Corrections agent who wrote it oversees the court-ordered supervision of Kanios’ brother.

“It’s my belief that the agent’s relationship with his brother has colored her recommendation for a dramatically, dramatically higher sentence,” Buckett told Judge Sandy Williams.

The sentencing recommendation was not divulged during Tuesday’s hearing.

Buckett asked the judge to strike the report and order a new one written by a different agent or delay the sentencing so he could commission an independent report on Kanios’ behalf.

In response to questions from Williams,  who said she was not concerned about the fairness of the report, Buckett said he could not cite specific examples of bias.

“I reviewed it (the report) several times and I didn’t see anything like that,” Williams said. 

She denied Buckett’s request to strike the report, but delayed the sentencing until June 28 to allow him to commission an independent report. 

Last month, Kanios pleaded guilty to one felony count of second-degree sexual assault of a child, a charge that stemmed from emails he sent and received while in jail awaiting trial in another felony case.

In those emails, which revealed he had sex with a girl in September when she was 15 and he was 18, the girl referred to the fact she believed she was pregnant. Kanios responded by urging her not to keep the baby, according to court records.

The revelation of the relationship resulted in two sexual assault charges being filed against Kanios in December. In exchange for his guilty plea to one of the charges, the other one was dismissed, as was a charge that Kanios showed a pornographic image to a 13-year-old boy in September.

At an April 12 plea hearing, Gerol recommended Kanios be sentenced to five years in prison followed by five years of extended supervision but that the sentence be stayed and Kanios be placed on probation for 10 years. That means Kanios would not have to serve the prison sentence unless he violates the conditions of his probation, which under Gerol’s recommendation would include serving eight months in the county jail and not having contact with the victim or anyone younger than 18.

Both Gerol and Buckett told Williams they were ready to proceed with the sentencing during the April hearing, but Williams delayed it until a presentence investigation could be conducted.

That concerned Buckett, who asked Williams to order that the presentence report not include a sentencing recommendation. Williams denied the request.

The sexual assault Kanios is guilty of is punishable by a maximum 25 years in prison and 15 years of extended supervision.

Kanios has been held in jail in lieu of $25,000 bail since he was arrested in October on a charge of exposing a child to harmful material.

While behind bars, Kanios was taking classes and had access to a computer and email, which he used to communicate with the victim of the sexual assault.

In response to an email in which the girl suggested she was pregnant, Kanios wrote, 

“It is with high regret that I say this ... I don’t think it is a good idea to keep the baby. If the police find out I am the father, they could keep me in jail or worse send me to prison .... I know you love the baby, but do you want your other baby in prison?” according to the criminal complaint.

The girl, now 16, told a police officer that she and Kanios had sex in Port Washington on Sept. 25 and Sept. 26.

 That was about the same time Kanios allegedly showed a pornographic image to the 13-year-old boy, according to the complaint in that case. Although this charge was dismissed last week, it was read into the record, which means Williams can consider it when sentencing Kanios for sexual assault.

The boy, who spoke with an officer and later participated in a forensic interview, said he began watching pornography after Kanios showed him several photos on his cell phone, at least one of which was pornographic, while walking to a friend’s house, according to the complaint.

The boy said he took note of the website the photos were from and later found it on his own.

When confronted by police, Kanios said the boy watched a video Kanios had on his phone of a 19-year-old Kanios described as his ex-girlfriend doing a strip tease, the complaint states. 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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