A Decorah man accused of abusing his children between September of 2011 and February of 2012 - including beatings and electrical shocking -- has been sentenced in the final cases pending against him.
Numerous charges were filed against James Bachmurski, 54, Decorah, after South Winneshiek School officials alerted law enforcement when they noticed a student with an injury to his left leg.
When questioned by staff, Feb. 3, 2012, the 14-year-old boy provided only a vague explanation. A deputy and a Department of Human Services (DHS) caseworker then met with the boy and his 16-year-old brother, and the injured boy said his father had kicked him in the leg and the shin, which was bloody and raw, according to court document.
The boy said his father was upset over a missing school laptop computer that the family might have to pay for.
A deputy said in an affidavit when he and the DHS case worker questioned Bachmurski, the defendant admitted to kicking his son and using a belt to strike both the boys. Bachmurski also admitted to shocking one of his sons, who was restrained in a metal chair, with an electric cattle fence energizer.
After the interview with the deputy and DHS case worker, Bachmurski signed a voluntary removal of his sons from his care. They were placed in foster care.
In March in Winneshiek County District Court, Bachmurski was sentenced to 338 days in jail after pleading guilty in Winneshiek County District Court to assault causing bodily injury. He was given credit for time served. He also was ordered to pay a $315 fine and $110 surcharge, in addition to court costs.
Last week, Bachmurski pleaded guilty in Winneshiek County District Court to additional related charges.
He received a suspended, two-year prison sentence for first-degree harassment for harassing one of his sons in August or September of 2011. He was placed on probation with the Department of Correctional Services for two years and ordered to reside in the residential facility in West Union for one year or until he has received maximum benefits.
Placement will occur after Dec. 20 and the defendant is to report to the residential facility immediately after being notified that bed space is available. He also was fined $625, plus a $218 surcharge, which are suspended during the period of probation.
Bachmurski also entered a guilty plea last week to willful injury resulting in bodily injury, a lesser-included offense, for intending to cause serious injury to his other son.
Judgment was deferred and Bachmurski was placed on probation with the Department of Correctional Service for five years. Upon successful completion of probation the case will be dismissed without entry of any judgment of guilt. If he violates the terms of probation the court will enter a guilty judgment and sentence the defendant.
Bachmurski also was ordered to obtain a mental health evaluation and follow all recommendations made.
A third case against Bachmurski was dismissed last week at the defendant's expense. County Attorney Andy Van Der Maaten moved to dismiss the case due to Bachmurski's guilty pleas in the other related criminal actions filed against him.
The dismissed charge was first-degree harassment for an incident which occurred December 25, 2011.
According to the affidavit of a Winneshiek County Sheriff's deputy, one of Bachmurski's sons said his father had loaded firearms in the house and repeatedly said he'd end his son's "worthless life with a single bullet and no one would ever know."
Bachmurski's sentences are to be served concurrently. The no-contact order with his victims was extended for a period of five years from May 21, 2013. The no-contact order can be extended for an additional five years if the victim files an affidavit, within 90 days prior to its expiration, stating the defendant continues to pose a threat. The number of modifications extending the no-contact order permitted is not limited. The minor children can contact Bachmurski under conditions they approve, but subject to Juvenile Court approval. He also was ordered to repay his victims for their losses.