By DAVID DOEGE and AMY RINARD
Waukesha - The pornographic DVD that was being played in an Oconomowoc apartment doesn't square with a man's claim that he thought he heard a rape in progress before storming into the residence with a sword, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
"Does hearing the sounds of consensual sex under these kinds of circumstances indicate that a crime may have been occurring? Obviously, the Oconomowoc police thought not," Waukesha County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Osborne said.
As for kicking in the door while armed with a sword, Osborne said, "Was that a reasonable response? It's reported that he pounded on the door and kicked it in before the man had a chance to open it. That doesn't appear to have been a reasonable reaction to me."
Osborne said the decision to file the charges against James W. Van Iveren over the Feb. 11 incident primarily boiled down to his reported beliefs and actions being unreasonable.
"If he disagrees, we can take it to trial," Osborne said. "That's why we have trials."
Van Iveren's neighbor, Bret Stieghorst, said Wednesday that he believed Van Iveren was doing what he thought was the right thing in kicking in the door to his apartment and didn't care about the charges that were filed, except damage to property.
"He did kick in my door, so he should get charged with that," said Stieghorst, 33, who works full time and is a student at Waukesha County Technical College. "But he really didn't do anything except what he thought was right. I don't know what I would have done in that situation."
But if Van Iveren was attempting to rescue what he thought was a woman in danger he was "obnoxiously late," said Stieghorst, who said he watched the movie between 1 and 2:30 a.m., but Van Iveren did not burst into his apartment until about 11:30 a.m.
When he told Van Iveren that he was going to call the police, Van Iveren ran out the door of the apartment and down the stairs, and Stieghorst said he followed him. It was only when they got to the bottom of the stairs, and Van Iveren ducked into the door of another apartment, that he realized Van Iveren was his neighbor, he said.
Stieghorst, who said he has lived in his small downtown apartment for five years, said he was watching an adult DVD in Spanish called "Casa de Culo." He said the movie has no screaming that would suggest to someone a woman was in danger.
"It's all in Spanish, and I don't understand a word of it," he said. "I only bought it for the hot chicks."
Van Iveren, 39, of Oconomowoc, was charged by Osborne last week with one count each of criminal trespass while using a dangerous weapon, criminal damage to property while using a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct while using a dangerous weapon.
Van Iveren told a reporter Tuesday that he distinctly heard a woman screaming while he was listening to music in his first floor apartment on the morning of Feb. 11. When the screams persisted over an extended period, he concluded that a rape was taking place in the apartment above his, so he decided to intervene, according to Van Iveren.
Van Iveren said he grabbed an heirloom sword, raced up a staircase to the apartment above him and kicked in the door, expecting to find a woman being raped. He said he left after the neighbor showed him that he was alone in the apartment.
Osborne said Wednesday that the case was unusual.
"I guess I'd call it a unique set of circumstances," he said.
Osborne said, though, that it would be a mistake to let Van Iveren off the hook merely because he says he was mistaken.
"You can't just make up an excuse for your behavior and expect to avoid consequences," he said.
Stieghorst said the incident will not change his movie-viewing habits.
"No, way; I'm a man and I'm a normal person," he said. "But I think I will get some good headphones, maybe some wireless ones."
Wow. Crazy nutjob is apparently even more crazy than previously thought and more of a nutjob. I'm glad they took the sword away from this dofus and I think it's time for a full psychological battery. I might have thought he was a crazed dingbat even before the new facts revealed here but after the updated info, it's clear he's certifiable. What kinda nutjob kicks down a door waving a sword to stop a rape that he heard 9 hours before. Was he sitting downstairs weighing the pros and cons or something?
It's funny but it also looks like some soft-headed morons have latched onto this guy as being a hero as I predicted. I just read over some forum comments about the topic where people were justifying the nutjob's actions. The idea that he should have called the police first and then made a more balanced and considered response short of kicking down a door and waving a sword was routinely dismissed. After all, the morons argue, seconds mattered and a woman could have been violently assaulted while the police there still in route. It makes me wonder how they feel about the sword-waving maniac now upon finding out that he waited 9 hours before doing something.