Sex Offender Gets 45 Years in Prison for Following Boys
Dennis Marth, released from supervision weeks before a child enticement incident, will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars after sentence from Judge Kathryn Foster.
Dennis Marth, a convicted sex offender who previously lived in Waukesha and Sussex, was described as having built "a house of cards of lies" by a prosecutor before he was sentenced to 45 years in prison on a child enticement conviction.
Marth, 51, was convicted of following and talking to young boys at Nixon Park in Hartland in July 2011 while they were under the watchful eye of a childcare provider who contacted police. He was found wearing swimming trunks with no underwear lining and a wet bar of soap in his pocket, according to court testimony Friday.
Marth was released from supervision on past sex offenses and a mental commitment in late May 2011. He was convicted twice of molesting boys in the 1980s.
"It was a like a kick in the teeth," said Assistant District Attorney Sue Opper about Marth’s arrest.
Marth had spent years on supervision for his sex offenses involving children, had been in treatment and convinced doctors he wasn't a risk to the community.
Opper has prosecuted Marth since 2000 and, pending appeal, she’s seen the last of Marth — he won’t be released from prison until he is 95. Marth is receiving about one year of sentence credit since he's been in jail since his August arrest.
"It was all a lie, it was all a lie," Opper said about Marth's treatment. "He can talk the talk but he can't walk the walk. … Rehabilitation is an illusion for Mr. Marth. To my knowledge, it has all been tried."
The mother of one of the boys who Marth spoke with at the park told Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Kathryn Foster that Marth called her son a "karate kid" and asked him personal questions. The boy has now been scared when he saw someone resembling Marth and when he saw a disheveled-looking man at Nixon Park this summer, she told the judge.
Patch is not identifying the woman to protect the boy's identity.
"It is obvious to me that Dennis Marth didn't care enough about his recovery to stay away from children," the woman said.
Marth apologized in court and said he regretted his actions, but denied stalking the boys.
"There is no excuse," he said. "I apologize for that. I apologize to Hartland – to everybody in Hartland."
Marth's attorney, Douglas Bihler, was seeking a prison sentence of nine years, saying the comments about Marth by Opper were "over-exaggerated."
"There is a mushrooming and exponential rise of fear about Mr. Marth that I think is unwarranted," Bihler said.
Marth has an alcohol problem – he was drinking the day of the child enticement incidents – but Bihler said he doesn't believe Marth was going to sexually assault the boys.
Marth made a "completely stupid decision on his part" to "befriend (the boys) in ways that are not appropriate given his history," Bihler said.
The judge disagreed. If not for the actions of the child care provider, "disaster could have happened," Foster said.
Past History With Judge
Marth was living in Sussex with his wife at the time of his arrest. He had just moved from Waukesha, where resided on Buena Vista Avenue.
Foster was the judge who allowed his release to the Buena Vista home under supervision, which she said she did under the law but "wasn’t very happy about it."
Neighbors along Buena Vista were upset when Marth was placed in their neighborhood, according to a 2007 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article. Dozens of residents were at a neighborhood meeting to voice their concerns about Marth's release.
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge William Domina granted Marth's release from supervision in May 2011 on the recommendation of several doctors.