Rockford, Illinois News

Former Brendan Dassey attorney denies harassment allegations

By Jim Hagerty

OSHKOSH. Wis. – Former Brendan Dassey lawyer Len Kachinsky denies allegations that he harassed his court clerk last year.

The clerk, on Tuesday, January 30, was granted a temporary order of protection against the now municipal judge, one that bars him from any contact with the unnamed female petitioner. She asked for the order because she says Kachinsky retaliated against her over the harassment allegations she brought against him in 2017.

After she filed the harassment complaint, officials required a third party to be present during her meetings with Kachinsky. That requirement came after the clerk reported Kachinsky for behavior village officials listed as founded sexual harassment allegations in documents they filed with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission last summer.

Kachinsky told the USA Today that he’s done nothing wrong and that any friction between him and his employee was because of a personality conflict, not harassment.

“Contrary to this finding that they put in their papers, this is not sexual harassment in any way, shape or form,” he said. “It is a disagreement between a boss and employee about how things should be run and how the personal rapport should be in the office. And I think that’s what it is, not anything better or worse than that. It’s something that happens in offices all over the country.”

Not so, the clerk alleges. She claims that last April, Kachinsky started sending her personal emails and posting information about her on his Facebook page. She says she asked him to stop and that they keep their relationship professional and focused on work.

Court documents allege that Kachinsky continued contacting her, which prompted the complaint. The retaliation followed, the clerk claims. She says he filed undue letters of reprimand against her, made “cat noises” toward her, and sent her an email that allegedly said to stop using the village administration as a crutch and that he can’t “tolerate a weakling unwilling to have free and open discussion with the boss (or insubordination).” She says she received the message the day she found an envelope with blood smeared on it the clerk claims Kachinsky left on her desk.

The commission is also investigating whether Kachinsky, who has battled cancer, is medically fit to perform his duties as a judge. He told the commission that he was on decreased doses of a medication from December 2016 to May 2017 that caused mild mood swings but did not interfere with his ability to work. He added that recent medical procedures have not affected his mental state.

Kachinsky is scheduled for an interview with the commission Feb. 23. The clerk’s temporary restraining order expires Feb. 12. He came under fire in late 2015, when his handling of Brendan Dassey’s murder case was featured on the Netflix series Making a Murderer.
As shown in the documentary, Dassey’s post-conviction lawyers claim Kachinsky served his then 16-year-old client to investigators who got him to confess to his role in the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach. Kachinsky was removed from the case before trial when he allowed Dassey to meet with police without him.

Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery are serving life sentences for first-degree murder in Halbach’s death.

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