Burlington, WI – Criminal charges have been filed against a K-9 handler for the Burlington Police Department (BPD). The officer, Sergeant Matthew Baumhardt is accused of coercing a woman into having sex with him for a ride home. The 30-year-old officer is facing three felony charges — one count of misconduct in office/act/inconsistent duty, and two counts of third degree sexual assault. According to prosecutors, Baumhardt admitted to having sex with the woman but places the blame on the victim. Baumhardt claims he was forced into having sex with her.
The criminal complaint states that on July 29 the victim attended a wedding reception in Burlington. The woman than had too much to drink and started having problems with her boyfriend over the course of the night. After the reception, the woman, her boyfriend, and a group of friends decided to keep partying and went to some bars in the area. At some point, the victim decided to leave the bar scene “because she was upset with her boyfriend and wanted to go home.” She decided to walk the approximately 7 miles from Burlington to Waterford.
According to her interview with Kenosha County sheriff’s detectives, she tripped and fell along some railroad tracks injuring her feet and legs. She then heard a voice call out to her. When she looked up she saw the SUV K-9 police vehicle. In the vehicle was Baumhardt. She told the officer she was upset and crying and asked for a ride home. The peace officer initially said he couldn’t take her because it was out of his patrol area. Baumhardt asked her if there was anyone she could call and she told him about her boyfriend being drunk and not wanting a ride from him.
The complaint then states that the officer asked her to assume the position so he could pat her down. Several times she asked if she was under arrest and the officer never gave a direct answer. As he was patting her down, the woman alleges Baumhardt touched her inappropriately. He then let her into the squad car and said he would do her a favor and give her a ride home. He asked her, “would you be down to do me a favor?”
As it turns out, the favor the officer wanted was sex. Baumhardt took the woman to a “warehouse type building” — the city’s water treatment facility. There he told the woman to perform sex acts. Afterward, he asked for her address and drove her home. Along the way, the officer told her multiple times “this had to be kept a secret.” The next day she told a friend what happened who told her to go to the hospital and “report this right away,” which she did.
The unnamed woman told the investigators that she did not want to have sex with Baumhardt but at no point did she say “no”. She reportedly was afraid because he was a police officer and she was afraid he would retaliate.
When detectives questioned Baumhardt he admitted to having sex with the woman. He claimed that it was forced upon him by her. According to the officer, she said if he didn’t have sex with her, she would file a complaint against him for raping her. In fear for his lovely marriage and wonderful career being tanked by such an allegation, he complied with the drunk woman’s demands.
The officer was equipped with a body camera but it was not turned on once during the encounter. According to dispatchers, there also was no radio contact from the officer between 1:45 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. on July 29.
BPD Chief Mark Anderson released a statement Wednesday Sept. 5:
Sergeant Matthew Baumhardt was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 1, 2018 after the City of Burlington Police Department was made aware of allegations of conduct which occurred on or about July 29, 2018 that included sexual harassment, neglect of duty, unbecoming conduct, and non-conformance to law. At that time, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department began to criminally investigate the allegations.
The City of Burlington Police Department stayed the administrative investigation to ensure that the criminal investigation was not impacted. On Aug. 23, 2018, Matthew Baumhardt resigned from the City of Burlington. The department is in the process of assigning a new handler for its police dog, Zander, as Matthew Baumhardt had been the K-9 handler.”