JUNEAU — A former police officer faces felony charges for an alleged relationship he had with a teenage girl when he was an officer in Mayville.
Mark Forster, 30, Mayville, has been charged with child enticement and four counts of misconduct in office. In addition, he faces a misdemeanor charge of intentionally contributing to the delinquency of a minor. If convicted of all the charges, he could face up to 49 years and 9 months in prison and a $150,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint, two months before Forster’s resignation, Ryan Vossekuil, who was then a captain for the Mayville Police Department, conducted an internal investigation of Forster after learning of claims from two community members that Forster had a relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Forster resigned in August 2016 after the investigation. Part of his resignation agreement contained a confidentiality, non-defamation provision.
No details of that investigation have been released, but when Vossekuil was being considered for Mayville police chief, he sent an email to several city officials as well as Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt questioning whether Forster’s wife, Rachel, who sat on the city council, could be impartial since he had investigated misconduct allegations against her husband.
Forster filed a lawsuit against the city and Vossekuil claiming Vossekuil’s email was a violation of the confidentiality agreement.
Forster lost his lawsuit June 6 when Dodge County Judge Martin DeVries issued a summary judgment against his claims. Forster could still appeal that decision.
In March 2018, an administrative assistant at the Mayville Police Department, who had been questioned during the investigation in 2016, spoke to a Mayville law enforcement officer and said she had been bothered that she did not report something at the time of the investigation, according to the criminal complaint. The administrative assistant told the officer she was aware in 2016 that Forster had been in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl when he was both on and off duty.
Vossekuil, who by that point was Mayville’s police chief, made a request of the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigations to investigate the claims against Forster. Vossekuil left the Mayville department last summer for a job as police chief in the village of Jackson.
A DCI special agent received a written statement from the administrative assistant. According to the criminal complaint, the statement said the administrative assistant encountered the girl at a Mayville gas station parking lot in July 2016 and the girl asked about how much trouble Forster would get into because of the internal investigation. The girl asked to speak to the administrative assistant in confidence and said she had sexual contact with Forster at two different parks in Mayville.
According to the criminal complaint, the administrative assistant sent Forster a text message asking him about his relationship with the girl. Forster allegedly said during their correspondence that he made a mistake and asked if she was going to tell his wife, Rachel Forster, who sits on the Mayville Common Council. The administrative assistant agreed to keep the information to herself when Forster asked, but she began feeling guilty for not coming forward with the information.
The administrative assistant told the DCI special agent that she also had a sexual relationship with Forster in the first six months of 2015 when she was 20. She said the incidents happened during “ride-alongs” while Forster was on duty.
The teenage girl contacted Vossekuil in April 2018. The girl said that she had denied having a physical relationship when initially questioned at age 17 because she was trying to protect Forster. However, she said she later realized his actions were inappropriate. The girl said when she found out that Forster was suing Mayville to get his job back, she became concerned there would be more victims.
A DCI special agent spoke to the girl in April 2018 as well. The girl said she met Forster during her senior year of high school when she was working at the TAG Center and Forster worked out there. The girl said Forster started to flirt and correspond were her online the summer before she turned 18.
According to the criminal complaint, the girl said that in the summer of 2016, she began to meet with Forster while he was on duty and one time when he was off duty. One time he pulled her over while she was driving with his squad car lights activated. He approached her car and allegedly asked why she did not stop when she saw his squad car parked.
On another incident, the girl said Forster contacted her with an online message asking her to meet in a park. According to the criminal complaint, she met him while he was on duty and they kissed.
The girl told the DCI special agent that she met him on other occasions and he acted like her boyfriend when he sent her messages. On one occasion when he was not on duty, Forster allegedly had the girl perform a sexual act with him.
According to the complaint, when the internal investigation began, Forster contacted the girl and coached her on how to respond to any questions police might ask about their relationship. Forster allegedly told the girl that he feared Mayville Police had the messages they had sent to each other and feared his family would be ruined. Forster allegedly told the girl at the time not to deny the messages because that would be suspicious, but he told her to call Vossekuil and say the messages between them were “fantasy.”
According to the criminal complaint, a DCI special agent received information in February that showed Forster’s work computer and credentials were used in June 2016 to make four queries about the 17-year-old girl. The girl was not the subject of any work-related activity or report. However, Forster was able to access the girl’s driver’s license and other protected information.
Forster’s case is being prosecuted by Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office in Dodge County Circuit Court. His initial hearing will be June 24.