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Elderly defendant acquitted by Green Co. jury
He faced up to 60 years in prison if convicted
Prison Bars

By Gary Mays


MONROE — An elderly Belleville man, who was facing up to 60 years in prison on sexual abuse-related crimes with young victims, was acquitted by a jury of all charges against him in Green County Circuit Court on Friday, June 14.

In a trial before Circuit Judge Faun M. Phillipson, it took a jury less than two hours to find Bernard A. Cockroft, 75, innocent of felony charges of repeated sexual assault of the same child, felony child enticement, and first-degree child sexual assault with a victim under 13.

The abuse is alleged to have occurred in the summer of 2016 when Cockroft was living at two south-central Wisconsin locations — the Town of Exeter and in Mazomanie.

District Attorney Craig Nolen, whose office prosecuted the case against Cockroft, was circumspect in his reaction on Monday to the jury’s verdict. 

“Sexual assault cases can be very difficult for not only the victims but also to prove,” Nolen said. “I commend the victims in this case for coming forward and telling their story to the jury and the court.”

Proving the charges beyond a reasonable doubt, he added, is a high standard, indeed.

“In many cases, it is a situation where most of the evidence is in the testimony of witnesses and unfortunately, in this case, it was not enough for the jury to find that the state had proven every element of the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.

Cockroft was represented by Darlington-based attorney Morgan Sauder. Attempts to reach her for comment on winning her case were unsuccessful.