Try 1 month for 99¢
Reginald Patton in court

Reginald Patton, left, listens in court as the grandfather of a sexual assault victim speaks Monday during Patton's sentencing hearing.

The third of three men convicted in the 2016 sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl at a state Department of Corrections halfway house was sentenced Monday to 6½ years in prison.

Dane County Circuit Judge Nicholas McNamara said he saw no choice but to sentence Reginald H. Patton, 27, of Fitchburg, to the maximum sentence that he could get after pleading guilty in February to third-degree sexual assault and exposing himself to a child.

The girl committed suicide less than a month after the July 2016 incident that happened at a DOC-sponsored home on St. Paul Avenue in the town of Blooming Grove, where Patton and two other sex offenders were living.

“To impose less than the maximum does disregard the risk that you are to others right now,” McNamara said. “It disregards your history and the pain and trauma to (the girl) and her family for what you did.”

Patton was previously convicted of second-degree sexual assault of a child and was on extended supervision when the incident at the halfway house occurred. His supervision on the earlier conviction was revoked and he is now serving a prison sentence. His new sentence won’t begin until the older sentence is finished in 2022.

“I really feel like I’ve done something wrong,” Patton said in court Monday. “I wish I could take it back but I can’t. I wish that I would have been more aware of what I have done and had more knowledge that that was not right.”

Patton was one of four men who police said sexually assaulted the girl in Patton’s room at the halfway house on the same day Patton arrived at the home. McNamara told Patton that he should have thought immediately whether it was a good idea to take part in the assault on the intoxicated girl, whom he did not know, having just arrived in the house that day to live with other men he did not know.

Instead, McNamara said, Patton “just took a turn and that seemed like a reasonable thing to do.” That it’s taken this long for Patton to feel shocked that he would have done such a thing “means that you’ve got more work to do,” McNamara said.

Two other men have already pleaded guilty in the assault. A man who is alleged to have brought the girl to the home is scheduled for a jury trial in June.

Ed Treleven is the courts reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.