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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Wurtele enters not guilty plea, testifies that he volunteered at church program

  • Eugene K. Wurtele, 64, entered not guilty pleas Wednesday to 14 counts of sexual assault of a child and testified in district court asking to be released on bond.Judge Jeffrey Funke set bond at 10 percent of $1 million, ordered Wurtele to have no contact with anyone under the age of 18 and established a home curfew of...
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  • Eugene K. Wurtele, 64, entered not guilty pleas Wednesday to 14 counts of sexual assault of a child and testified in district court asking to be released on bond.
    Judge Jeffrey Funke set bond at 10 percent of $1 million, ordered Wurtele to have no contact with anyone under the age of 18 and established a home curfew of 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
    Wurtele's wife, Nancy, told defense attorney attorney James Martin Davis that she accepts an ethical obligation to alert authorities if Wurtele violates conditions of his bond, which require him to stay in the state and wear an electronic global positioning device.
    Davis submitted what he described as "letters of support" from community members, including Wurtele's pastor and people with whom he had served on the Nebraska City Board of Education.
    Wurtele testified that, if released on bond, he would use the time to prepare for incarceration.
    "All I can say is whatever conditions that would be imposed, I would be more than willing to submit to. I see this as a time I can get things organized for my wife," he said.
    He said he would also like to meet with his aging parents.
    "My dad is 85 and my mom is 82. I'm pretty sure, by the time I'm through with this, I will never see them again," he said.
    He said the phone system at the county jail makes it difficult to communicate with his attorney and put his financial matters in order.
    Otoe County Attorney David Partsch asked Wurtele about the alleged victims in Otoe and Douglas county court cases.
    Wurtele said two alleged victims are relatives that do not live in Nebraska City, but a third is a child Wurtele met through a youth program at the church where he was a teacher.
    Wurtele said he met the girl while volunteering as a mentor to the girl's brother.
    "I would take him places and we would do things together. I would go to his house to pick him up and his family would be there," he said.
    Partsch questioned the validity of bond conditions that confined Wurtele to his Nebraska City home, where the assaults are alleged to have occurred.
    He said there is no evidence that the people writing letters on Wurtele's behalf have knowledge regarding the "period of time" over which the offenses allegedly occurred.
    Partsch said if bond is set, it should be higher than the $500,000 bond set in Douglas County.
    He said his concern is not so much that Wurtele is a flight risk, but for the safety of Wurtele and the public.
    The Otoe County Sheriff's Office is assigned duty to monitor the GPS device.
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