Cafferty, carried the day Tuesday morning, as Racine's former mayor was given permission to leave the state to attend a six-week residential treatment program for sexual compulsivity.
Judge Stephen Simanek accepted Cafferty's arguments, stating, "I think he poses no additional risk."
District Attorney Michael Nieskes had argued for increased cash bail, and said "I believe there's adequate treatment in this area" for the impulses that led to his arrest on child sexual enticement charges in January. Pointing out that Becker "leaped right into it" when a DCI investigator, posing as a 14-year-old girl, offered to meet him for sex, Nieskes noted that none of the 16 prior cases cited by Cafferty Monday in his motion to revise Becker's bond restrictions covered the same range of accusations.
"No one else misappropriated government funds," he said, referring to the charge that Becker asked a city employee to fix his personal computer. Noting that some of the cases Cafferty listed carried cash bonds of $30,000 to $50,000, Nieskes said of Becker, "I think he's a greater flight risk." He also said Becker was more likely to adhere to bond requirements if kept in Racine County because "there are thousands of eyes in the community" watching him.
Cafferty said the KeyStone Center in Chester, PA, had conditionally approved taking Becker as a patient, pending only financial arrangements and the court's consent. Current bond restrictions against alcohol consumption, contact with minors and a prohibition against the use of computers would remain in effect. (A call to KeyStone this morning revealed the cost of the treatment: $450 per day, or $18,900 for six weeks.)
Cafferty said others accused of crimes similar to those pending against Becker have been allowed to attend out-of-state treatment, and he argued that Becker "shouldn't be treated any worse than anyone else. The reality is, he isn't going anywhere but for treatment."
Judge Simanek agreed, noting that Becker "operates a business, has family here, has a residence." It wasn't clear whether he was referring to Becker's wife, Julie, who filed for divorce on Jan. 20, the same day Becker resigned as mayor, or to his mother. Becker's cash bond of $10,000 was left unchanged.
Simanek said Becker has been "compliant" with drug and alcohol monitoring, and that the KeyStone Center "is legitimate, not fly-by-night; it's not the Betty Ford Clinic."
Becker is required to notify the court as soon as he leaves the treatment facility. His previously scheduled April 3 pretrial hearing was reset to April 24, at 8:45 a.m.