Wilder sexual assault case heads to circuit court
After appearing for a preliminary exam during which four alleged sexual assault victims testified, Oswald Scott Wilder Jr. will go to trial at Ingham County Circuit Court on Oct. 9, 54-B District Court Judge Andrea Larkin ruled Friday.
Wilder, 26, is accused of initiating a string of sexual assaults that took place near campus this year that occurred between March 30 and and May 16.
After the dismissal of one criminal sexual conduct charge and the addition of other crimes, Wilder now faces one count of first degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of third degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of assault with intention to commit sexual penetration, one count of gross indecency and three counts of unlawful imprisonment. Wilder also is being charged as a habitual offender.
Ingham County Assistant Prosecutor Debra Rousseau said the unlawful imprisonment charges were added because Wilder allegedly held three of the four victims against their will and assaulted them. Larkin said the gross indecency charge came as a result of Wilder’s pattern of assault within the last three incidents.
“He clearly established a pattern with all three of (the attacks),” Larkin said. “He has shown sexually delinquent behavior.”
According to East Lansing police Detective Dan Brown, Wilder confessed to committing the three initial sexual assaults police suspected, along with an additional attack on reported on March 30, during an interrogation when he was arrested Aug. 23 on a retail fraud charge.
Wilder was not accused of the March 30 assault until he detailed it in his handwritten confession, Brown said. The assault occurred near the 1100 block of Grand River.
“We kept referring to the assaults as one, two and three, but he corrected us and said that the first one was on Grand River by the McDonald’s,” Brown said. “He gave us details that only a person who was there at the time would know of the assault.”
Victim 1 said she was walking down Grand River Avenue on March 30 to meet a cab when she was attacked.
“I was walking down the street when someone from behind me went under my dress,” she said. “I shoved him off and he pushed me into a bus stop sign.”
After the assault, Brown said Wilder told him he walked back to his car that was parked in the lot in front of Quality Dairy, 1109 E. Grand River Ave., and smoked crack cocaine while watching authorities respond to his attack and search the area.
In his confession, obtained by The State News through a Freedom of Information Act request, Wilder said he had issues with addictions to heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine. He admitted to smoking crack cocaine, which he said fuels his sexual urges, prior to three of the assaults.
Paul Toman, Wilder’s attorney, said the charges cannot be completely proven because none of the victims could identify Wilder based on anything other than his height, weight and clothing.
“The issue here that remains is identification,” Toman said. “None of them can identify Mr. Wilder in any way.”
If convicted of the crimes he’s accused of, Wilder would face life in prison. He is being held in the Ingham County Jail without bond.