JEFFERSON — Witnesses in Jefferson County Circuit Court sit in a swivel chair on the stand. On Thursday, the teenage girl accusing a 39-year-old Fort Atkinson man of assaulting her didn’t stop swiveling back and forth once for the hour she testified. An expression of nervous energy as she recounted her story.
She told the jury of 13 people — seven women and six men — in Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge William Hue’s courtroom about multiple incidents involving her and Daniel J. McWilliam that occurred while the two resided in the same house in 2017.
McWilliam is charged with second-degree sexual assault of a child under 16, exposing his genitals to a child, child enticement, failure to notify a school of sex offender status and four counts of felony bailjumping.
If convicted, McWilliam faces a combined maximum sentence of 93 years and three months in prison and a $250,000 fine.
As she was questioned by Assistant District Attorney Monica Hall, the girl recounted the time in the late summer of 2017 when she was leaving for a friend’s house and McWilliam called her into the living room. There, he told her he needed a favor and asked her to strip down and lie in his bed so he could perform oral sex on her.
“I told him I would never do something like that,” the girl, who was 14 at the time of the alleged incidents, said. “I told him if he were ever to try something like that again I would tell my mom or tell the cops.”
She told of another time she came home and McWilliam had discovered she’d been smoking cigarettes. The girl told the jury McWilliam offered a trade — he wouldn’t tell her mother about the cigarettes if she let him touch her genital region.
“He told me we were going to make a deal,” the girl said. “This deal was that when we would play wrestle … he could grab me in a way that made me uncomfortable.”
After proposing the trade, the girl said McWilliam placed his hand on her genitals — over her jeans — and moved his fingers.
The girl said there were times McWilliam would make her get in the shower with him so she could scrub his back.
The reasons for the showers differed from McWilliam having a shoulder injury that prevented him from reaching, to McWilliam having grease and oil on his back from working on cars — but the girl testified the showers occurred about three times a week for one month.
In these showers, the girl said McWilliam would make her wear just a bra and underwear as she scrubbed. He would be facing the shower head as she washed his back.
She said there were times during these showers it seemed he was masturbating because his breathing changed, the sound of the water changed and his hand was at his waist.
But, the girl said she wasn’t sure because it was a place she “didn’t want to look.”
The girl described other incidents in the shower, but this time without McWilliam in the bathroom with her.
Instead of McWilliam in the shower, the girl found something unexpected mounted above the shower head.
“I got in the shower, I was having a normal shower and then I reached up to grab my shampoo bottle and I noticed in the top corner there was a lifted ceiling tile, in its place stood a white camera that was pointed directly at me,” the girl said. “I froze because I didn’t know why it was there. I didn’t want it there. I got out of the shower the best I could and wrapped myself in a towel. I was shaking because I didn’t understand and after the things he’d already done it only made sense why it was there.”
For most of her testimony, the girl spoke in a matter-of-fact tone, clearly laying out the facts. Her testimony about the camera in the shower was the only time there was a well of emotion breaking out from between the strength she was trying to show.
Finally, the girl testified that while she was at a camp for one of her extracurriculars, her mother and McWilliam showed up at the school. Doing so unannounced would have violated the rules of the sex offender registry — of which McWilliam was on — as well as the conditions of McWilliam’s bond in two previous cases.
In her cross-examination, McWilliam’s defense attorney, Jessica Klein, asked the girl why she didn’t just avoid these situations.
“I was too confused, too afraid and too hurt,” the girl said.
After the girl testified, her mother took the stand. In Hall’s direct examination of her, she recounted what electronic devices were in the home and who they belonged to. This let Hall set up details for a later witness that involved which image and video files were on McWilliam’s devices.
But in Klein’s cross-examination, inconsistencies with the mother’s statements to police were brought up.
From what the girl told police in initial interviews and what the mother said to police after McWilliam initially was arrested, the mother’s belief in her daughter was in question.
But several years later, the mother downplayed this disbelief — even saying she immediately believed her and looking back, there were some concerning red flags.
“It was not (concerning) the, looking back, yes,” the mother said. “How could he have betrayed her like that?”
After the mother’s testimony, Fort Atkinson Police Detective Lisa Hefty took the stand. In her testimony, the body camera footage from her initial interview with McWilliam was played.
In the footage, McWilliam admits to making sexual comments to the girl, but that it wasn’t to be taken seriously.
“I said that jokingly,” McWilliam said in the video. “It was fooling around; it was playing. I didn’t think any of this was a problem.”
In response to all of this, Hefty says in the video, “that explanation does not sound reasonable to me at all.”
After Hefty, Detective Allen Adams of the City of Stoughton Police Department took the stand. Adams did the forensic analysis of McWilliam’s electronic devices.
Adams testified about how digital forensic analysis is done, why he did what he did to the devices and how he came to the conclusions he did.
During his testimony, a number of images and videos from the shower camera were shown to the jury.
In Hall’s description of the shower video, the girl gets in the shower, starts showering and then can be seen realizing the camera is there and a wave of shock comes across her face.
As this video was shown, a number of jurors were visibly uncomfortable.
Through his forensic analysis, Adams was able to see the devices that contained the images of the girl — which included an HP desktop computer, Samsung S8 phone and an SD card — probably belonged to McWilliam.
Adams’ testimony was the last of the day. Hall said she won’t be calling any more witnesses Friday and will rest her case in the morning.
McWilliams’ trial was scheduled to resume Friday at 9 a.m.