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Band teacher in Racine Co. charged with sexually assaulting children


RACINE COUNTY — A band teacher in Racine County was charged with sexually assaulting children and possessing child pornography.

Zachary P. Wendt is facing a number of charges including sexual assault of a child by a person who works or volunteers with children, and sexual intercourse with a child 16 years or older.

The Wheatland School District told parents Wednesday night that the allegations occurred off district property and did not include students.

While we typically do not use mug shots in our news coverage, we are making an exception in this case given the potential of more victims.

Zachary P. Wendt

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Zachary P. Wendt

Court records show Wendt was charged with:

  • Sexual Intercourse with Child 16 or Older, Actor 19 or Older Misd. A
  • Sexual Assault of Child by Person Who Works or Volunteers with Children Felony H
  • Sexual Intercourse with Child 16 or Older, Actor 19 or Older Misd. A
  • Sexual Assault of Child by Person Who Works or Volunteers with Children Felony H
  • Possession of Child Pornography Felony D
  • Possession of Child Pornography Felony D
  • Possession of Child Pornography Felony D
  • Exposing Genitals/Pubic Area/Intimate Parts to a Child

Burlington Police said an online tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children sparked the investigation into 38-year-old Wendt.

According to the criminal complaint, a 16-year-old girl, identified only by her initials, told police that she and Wendt worked together at the Musicology store. He also gives private music lessons at the Musicology Store in Burlington, according to the store’s website.

Musicology

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Musicology

The 16-year-old girl said in February of this year they began “sexting.”

The teen told investigators said she and Wendt drank together and had sex at his Burlington home on two occasions.

The girl said Wendt told her not to tell anyone, because he would lose his children and that he would send some of his students to her for lessons.

The teen told police Wendt is also a band teacher at Wheatland.

Zachary P. Wendt

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Zachary P. Wendt

His bond was set at $500,000 during his initial appearance in Racine County Court Thursday afternoon. He kept his head down for most of the brief appearance. He has a preliminary hearing on Thursday, Dec. 16.

District officials say Wendt has been suspended without pay.

In a letter to parents, the Wheatland School District did not name Wendt, but said an employee was arrested and suspended without pay pending an investigation.

The district administrator went on to say that the accusations did not involve district students. Due to the situation, the middle school band concert was postponed.

Read the school district’s letter below:

“Dear Parents and Guardians:

I am writing with some very troubling news. Late last evening, I was informed by the Burlington Police Department that a Wheatland J1 School District employee was arrested. He has been suspended without pay effective immediately, pending an investigation.

We have been informed that the arrest was made in relation to an alleged situation that occurred off district property and did not include any Wheatland J1 School District students. Due to the circumstances surrounding this investigation, the middle school 5-8 band concert scheduled for tomorrow, December 9, 2021 will be postponed.

Please know that there is no additional information we can share at this time as this is an active investigation. As a school district, our first and most important responsibility is to ensure the safety of our students. We will continue to do everything we can to make that happen. School officials and district counselors will be available to answer questions students may have during the next several days.

Martin McGinley

District Administrator”

Neighbors we talked to said they were surprised at the accusations.

Burlington police are asking potential victims related to this case to contact them.

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