A Fairfield man has been sent to prison in Wisconsin for sexually assaulting a boy there decades ago. Seventy-two-year-old Dale Soppe was sentenced to 60 days in jail and two years of probation.
Richard Hinde says in 1968, when he was 13 years old and a student at Western Dubuque in Epworth, Soppe was his teacher and began sexually abusing him. Hinde says the abuse continued when he and his family moved to Wisconsin. On Tuesday, Hinde was there in a Wisconsin courtroom to hear Soppe admit to the crime in court.
“He made (a) couple of statements and references to (the fact that) he was very sorry and that yes, he did abuse me and yes, he is responsible for the hurt that, you know, I’ve felt,” Hinde says. “…It’s just a great relief, you know, after 40 years and four-and-a-half years of jumping through legal hoops and waiting and wondering: Is it going to happen? When? What is the outcome going to be?…I’m really looking forward to getting on with…my life.”
Soppe pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree sexual assault and the judge dismissed another charge. In addition to the jail time and probation, the Fairfield man was fined $1000. A hearing will be held sometime in the next two months to determine how Soppe may reimburse Hinde for the counseling Hinde paid for himself over the past 39 years.
Soppe, the author of two books, left teaching to become a therapist. Soppe, who also had studied to join the priesthood, told the court he’d been abused by priests as a child. The title of one of Soppe’s books is “By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them.” It was published in 1979 and is out-of-print, but copies are selling on Amazon for less than two dollars each. Soppe’s other book is titled “Change Your Concepts, Change Your World.” It was published in 1972 — six years after he abused Hinde.
The legal deadline for filing child sex abuse charges in Wisconsin is six years after the incident. But Wisconsin law also says if the person accused leaves Wisconsin, that time limit is on hold until the accused abuser returns to the state.