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Former Kenosha Police Officer Raises Bizarre Defenses To Alleged Sexual Assault

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Former Kenosha Police Officer Joshua Sylvester (28)
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

A fired Kenosha Police Officer who is facing four decades behind bars if convicted for alleged sexual assault, seemed to detail his defenses to allegations of sexual assault in recently filed court documents.

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According to the 8-page criminal complaint, the now-fired police officer, 28-year-old Joshua Sylvester, is accused of some very serious crimes. The below allegations are graphic in nature and intended to be read by adults:

Former Kenosha Police Officer Joshua Sylvester (28)
(Racine County Sheriff)

Former Kenosha Police Officer Joshua Sylvester was at Aurora Hospital on August 18, 2022 monitoring an intoxicated 24-year-old woman who he arrested for OWI after crashing into a tree and losing consciousness. Sylvester inserted his fingers into the victim’s vagina several times while at the hospital. He also pulled out his penis and asked her to touch it. She refused but he forced her to. He added his cell phone number to hers as “Officer Josh” and sent himself nude photos of the woman from the woman’s phone. A Kenosha County Sheriff’s Detective viewed body camera footage, some of which had to be recovered by I.T. staff due to Sylvester turning off the camera. The footage supported all of the victim’s allegations. Sylvester even tried to cover the body-camera with his hand, but he was still seen sexually assaulting the victim. Sylvester later took the victim to the jail, but before they got into the squad car, he asked her not to “have a conversation about any of that in the car” because the squad cars have microphones and cameras. The victim didn’t initially want to tell her story but her friend and her Dad told her to go to the Kenosha Police Department. They met with Kenosha Lt. Joseph Nosalik, the then-commander of the Internal Affairs unit. On August 22, 2022, Kenosha Sheriff’s detectives executed a search warrant at Sylvester’s home and he immediately knew why there were there. His wife told police that Sylvester washed his uniform once to remove blood, but police found no uniform in the home. Sylvester waived his fifth amendment rights and made unreasonable excuses. When asked why he had vaginal secretions on his hands, he said it was because he “stopped her from masturbating.” He also said he held her hand to pray. He denied sending the nude photos to himself.

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Former Kenosha Police Officer Joshua Sylvester (28) and Criminal Defense Attorney Timothy Baldwin
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Sylvester’s legal team is comprised of seasoned criminal defense attorney Timothy Baldwin and another lawyer in his firm who’s been an attorney for about a year and a half – Erica Young. Young filed a series of legal documents that seem to give us a glimpse into the disgraced former officer’s defense.

  1. This case is a he said/she said case.
  2. Complaining witness (victim) engaged in erotic and flirtatious behavior by rubbing and exposing her breast and vaginal area while she was in custody.
  3. Sylvester was an inexperienced officer, and still on probation.
  4. Complaining witness’s lack of memory and shadowy inserted false memories
  5. Police didn’t perform a thorough enough investigation.
  6. Police didn’t seize the complaining witness (victim)’ ‘s phone for evidence.

In Attorney Young’s motions, she is also requesting to do something that isn’t done in this state for criminal cases barring exigent circumstances – depositions. Young wants to depose, or question under oath before trial, the complaining witness (victim), police officers, and other witnesses. Attorney Young cites the 6th Amendment (Right of Confrontation) as the basis for her request for depositions.

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Michael D. Cicchini, Criminal Defense Attorney and Author
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

We asked criminal defense attorney and author Michael D. Cicchini to opine on some of the defenses and other motions that were filed.

“Depositions are quite rare in Wisconsin criminal law.  One requirement is to show that a particular witness will be unavailable for trial.  Without such a showing, I can’t see any Kenosha judge granting a defense lawyer’s request for a deposition,” Cicchini told KCE Wednesday. “The right of confrontation is a trial right.  I’m not aware of any right of confrontation in pretrial discovery.  I’ve never heard of the Sixth Amendment right of confrontation being applied in such a context.” 

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“I don’t see how [the complaining witness’s sexual behavior] or [Sylvester’s inexperience as a police officer] could be defenses to the charged crime of Sexual Assault by a Law Enforcement Officer. The complaining witness’s lack of memory or misremembering (false memory) is certainly a defense, as it goes to whether the incident actually happened. The failure to properly investigate the case is a recognized defense.  It is sometimes called the investigative ‘omission defense.’ I don’t know if [law enforcement] would have the right to take the complaining witness’s phone or force her to have an invasive SANE evaluation.”

KPPA (Kenosha Professional Police Association) President Pete Deates

The Kenosha Professional Police Association condemned the allegations against Sylvester and immediately supported the termination, which was swiftly made by the-chief Eric Larsen.

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Complaining Witness
(Kenosha County Sheriff)

According to court documents, the complaining witness in this case was alleged to be driving on 64th St near 96th Ave in Kenosha, with a .242 Blood Alcohol Level – more than three times the legal limit. She lost control of her car and hit a tree. She was charged with OWI.

Christine Genthner (D) – City of Kenosha Municipal Prosecutor
(facebook)

City prosecutor Christine Genthner (D) dismissed the OWI in October of this year and won’t tell KCE why. This means, when and if this woman drives intoxicated again, it will be her first under statute. Genthner, a lifelong democrat, is the wife of the embattled former Joint Services Director Tom Genthner and a 30-year parishioner of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Kenosha. This is the church with the rogue priest Roman Stikel (D) that supports C.U.S.H.’s pro-abortion and pro-trans activism.

Sylvester’s wife paid for the $15,000 bail and is standing by her husband, even being aware of Body-Worn-Camera footage depicting her husband “fingering” a drunk prisoner. They recently celebrated their 4 year anniversary.

Sylvester is scheduled to stand trial in May of 2024.

Author

  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.

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38 Responses

  1. I would really like to know why Genthner dismissed the OWI? Maybe attempting to save the City from a lawsuit?

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    1. If the woman was known to have one prior OWI within ten years or three or more total then the city has no jurisdiction. The case must be dismissed and referred to the DA for charging as a state case. It happens from time to time and ordinarily no big deal. The municipal citation is essentially superseded by a criminal complaint.

      If this is the case, the city attorney had no choice. Only a first offense can be a municipal case.

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      1. Continuing….

        Forgot to note that under no circumstances can the city attorney simply “dismiss” an OWI. Wisconsin law prohibits a prosecutor from amending or dismissing an OWI charge without court approval. Then it’s up to the municipal judge. There are three typical acceptable reasons:

        1. No jurisdiction as it should have been charged by the DA in a criminal complaint in circuit court.
        2. Defendant deceased.
        3. Evidentiary problems, such as the blood test coming back with zero alcohol or drugs (it happens). With a .242 not likely the case here.

              1. Assuming it would be a second or subsequent offense then the DA will have to charge it but that puts Graveley’s office in a pickle of prosecuting the officer, in which case the woman would be a witness, and simultaneously prosecuting her with the former officer that they are prosecuting as the lead witness.

              2. Even if it’s a first offense the OWI case may be dead in the water. The arresting officer is charged with sexually assaulting the OWI defendant during the traffic stop. If he testified at her trial he could “take the fifth.”

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  2. Absolutely disgusting on so many levels. Sylvester belongs in prison for the full 40 years, his wife needs her head examined for stupidity, Genther should be fired and Stikel should be laicized.

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  3. If the warrant didn’t take place until the 22nd and this happened on the 18th, why were there still vaginally secretions on his hands? “When asked why he had vaginal secretions on his hands, he said it was because he “stopped her from masturbating.” Gross!

    1. Why does he look stupid? Because
      Of the color of his skin? Typical Kenosha resident (closet racist).

  4. So where’s the protests, the outrage, the riots, the property destruction, the looting? Oh, right…

  5. With our district attorney’s office, I’m surprised they don’t let him cop to a plea of, “looking for spare change”.

  6. All you cop bashers need to back the blue. they are doing a Tony the Tiger great job. bunch of clowns. also, it is racist to hold colored folks accountable for their many crimes. shame shame

  7. KPD, like other local police departments, have not only lowered hiring standards including background requirements, as they actively pursue equity which values skin color above all else.

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