Defendant allegedly hit child, woman

Matthew Petersen

A Chetek man faces felony child abuse charges after an early morning fight in rural Rice Lake, on Sunday, June 16.

Charged in Barron County Circuit Court on Monday, June 17, was Matthew Petersen, 37. He was charged with felony physical abuse of child-intentionally cause bodily harm, physical abuse of child and misdemeanor battery (domestic abuse) and disorderly conduct (domestic abuse).

According to the complaint, Barron County sheriff’s deputies were called to a residence in the 2100 block of 20-1/8th Avenue in rural Rice Lake for a fight. A caller said Petersen was fighting with his children and several people had been struck.

At the house was a woman—the wife of the defendant—and four children who were between the ages of 13 and 15 years old. One of the children said Petersen and the woman were fighting and the child attempted to get between them. The child was allegedly punched in the face by Petersen and a deputy saw a red mark on the child’s face.

Another child tried to get between the couple and was allegedly pushed to the ground by Petersen, and again pushed down when the child tried to get back up. When pushed, the child’s hand was hurt.

The woman told the deputy that she and a friend had been out to the bar that night. When she and the friend came home, Petersen allegedly began yelling at her, calling her and the children names.

She alleged the man struck her face with a closed fist, causing her to see stars. Deputies saw red marks on the woman’s left cheekbone. The woman also said a child had been hit and another child pushed down twice.

Barron County dispatch logs said the fight was reported at 1:25 a.m. on Sunday, and Petersen allegedly fled on foot before officers arrived at the residence. Deputies attempted to track the man but did not find him.

At 3:10 a.m., the caller said the man had returned and was in a tent behind the yard. Officers took the man into custody at gunpoint a few minutes later, and he was booked into the Barron County Jail.

Petersen faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years and six months’ imprisonment and $31,000 in fines if, convicted of all charges. He is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, June 25, for a preliminary hearing.

A signature bond was set at $5,000 with conditions to have no contact with three subjects and to be allowed back to the residence one time with law enforcement to collect belongings.