MILWAUKEE (WKOW) -- A dismissed prosecution over a Wisconsin teacher's alleged sex assault may not be over, and a critical piece of evidence could be the teacher's own words in a secretly recorded conversation.
A judge dismissed the second degree sexual assault charge against Gregory Groskreutz, 35, of Wauwatosa in August. The case was scheduled for trial but had been postponed several times before the dismissal. Assistant Milwaukee County District Attorney Kent Lovern told 27 News a stress-related illness prevented the victim from being a trial witness and left prosecutors with no choice but to suspend prosecutorial efforts.
But the case was dismissed without prejudice, which means prosecutors could file the charge again. Lovern said if the victim recovers from her condition, prosecutors intend to again bring the case.
The case is unique in several ways, including West Allis police arranging for the victim to rendezvous with her former teacher and secretly record their conversation.
"That night at the lock-in really changed my life," the victim told Groskreutz.
"Yeah, it changed mine too," Groskreutz responds.
Authorities alleged Groskreutz sexually assaulted the 14-year-old victim at a school lock-in at West Allis' Frank Lloyd Wright Intermediate in 2005.
In court records, Groskreutz's attorney, Jonathan LaVoy states the girl denied there was any sexual contact between the teacher and herself when school officials investigated six years ago.
Records state as the girl grew into adulthood and married, she remain troubled over what happened and contacted authorities when she was 20.
The criminal complaint against Groskreutz alleged the girl removed clothing and he penetrated her with his finger.
"You practically raped me," the student blurts out to Groskreutz in the taped conversation.
"I, I didn't, I didn't," Groskreutz softly responds.
"You were an adult and you took advantage of me. I was in a bad situation. You took advantage of that," she tells Groskreutz.
"Yes, I was the adult and I should have made better decisions, absolutely."
During the conversation recorded in a car in a Starbucks parking lot in West Allis, Groskreutz apologizes several times.
But LaVoy said the apologies were for Groskreutz's failure to report suspected abuse of the girl by a family member when she was a middle schooler.
Court records show the student received psychological treatment during the years between the lock-in encounter with the teacher and her report of a crime to authorities. LaVoy requested court permission to examine some of her medical records and suggested the reliability of repressed memory was a factor in the case.
"Repressed memory, there's very serious questions about whether there's any reliability to that at all," said Madison attorney Bill Smoler.
Smoler is not involved in the student's case but is an expert on repressed memory and has won court judgments for people allegedly falsely accused by others drawing on past, therapy-facilitated memories.
Groskreutz declined to talk to 27 News, but LaVoy said Groskreutz maintains his innocence.
West Allis school officials fired Groskreutz over the woman's accusations, but he has filed a grievance.
Records show Groskreutz's teaching license has been under investigation by the state department of public instruction for 20 months. DPI spokesperson Patrick Gasper declined comment on the pending investigation.
In the taped conversation, Groskreutz states he's still teaching. "Yeah, I teach Sunday school so I have to go to church."
The victim of the alleged sex assault also did not respond to attempts by 27 News to speak with her about the lock-in and subsequent events.
Before the student breaks down crying shortly after her rendezvous with Groskreutz is over, Groskreutz leaves questions unanswered with his recollections of his feelings from their time as teacher and student.
"There's something about you that you know was appealing," he said. "And I'm sorry."
27 News is not identifying the former student because she is the victim of an alleged sex assault.