UPDATE: Criminal charges possible over recanted beating story - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Criminal charges possible over recanted beating story


MADISON (WKOW) -- Authorities say criminal charges are possible against a former campaign volunteer, who recanted a claim of being beaten in an attack with political dimensions.

Madison Police Captain Joe Balles says 29-year-old Kyle Wood recanted his story Monday, and authorities have categorized his case as "unfounded."

In a letter Tuesday to 27 News explaining a refusal to release police reports on the case, Captain Sue Williams wrote the case remains active. "The investigation has the potential to result in criminal action."

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne says cases of false claims to police are serious.

"When those allegations are made, there are, at times, bells that cannot be unrung," says Ozanne.

Authorities say Wood claimed an intruder to his High St. apartment beat him October 24.

In interviews with web-based news bloggers, Wood explained he was a gay man working as a full time volunteer for Republican congressional candidate Chad Lee. Lee is running against an openly gay candidate, Democrat Mark Pocan.

The non-profit, online, conservative news blog Media Trackers reported Pocan's husband threatened Wood through text messages.

A Pocan campaign official says the accusations were false. And after Wood's beating story was discredited, campaign manager Dan McNally issued a statement: "We hope that those that are responsible for the recent events are quickly brought to justice."

On its blog site, a Media Trackers representative said Wood duped the organization.

In a statement, Lee campaign manager Stephanie Kundert says Wood "misled" the campaign, and Wood has been dismissed as a campaign volunteer.

Kundert says campaign staff persons did not provide the purported, threatening text messages to Media Trackers.

Ozanne cautions when stories to authorities are recanted, a careful evaluation must be done.

"We may not decide to charge for any number of reasons," Ozanne says. "You may have mental health issues in these cases, and the criminal justice system might not be the most appropriate place for the person. It may be you look to get them help."

Ozanne says victims of domestic violence often recant, or minimize, initial accounts of abuse. Ozanne says taking a rigid posture of criminally charging those who recant, would be poor public policy.

Before he recanted, Wood spoke with 27 News about possibly doing an on-the-record interview after a planned discussion with police officers on Monday.  Since then, Wood has not responded to requests for comment from 27 News.


MADISON (WKOW) -- A campaign volunteer for 2nd District Republican Congressional Candidate Chad Lee is recanting the story he told Madison police about being the victim of a hate crime.

The 29-year-old man filed a police report last Wednesday, claiming that a large, muscular man forced himself into his apartment in the 900 block of High Street.

He said the man then choked him and smashed his face into a mirror.

The man told police his attacker indicated he targeting him because he was openly gay and was a traitor for supporting a Republican.

Madison police officials say the case is being cleared as "unfounded" and the file is being referred to the Dane County District Attorney's Office.

Madison police are not identifying the man in both the original and updated incident report, but in a statement last week from Lee's campaign, they identified the volunteer as Kyle Wood.
In a statement released Monday night, the Lee campaign said Wood has been dismissed. The campaign said it will fully cooperate with the investigation.
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