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Alex Heineman

Other Wisonsin exonerations
On May 5, 2017, 15-year-old Sierrah Parmeter accused 16-year-old Alex Heineman of sexually assaulting her in the woods near a YMCA building that was hosting a gathering for teenagers in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Police were called when a man saw Parmeter crying as she walked out of the woods. The man also saw Heineman walking away. When the man asked Parmeter what was wrong, she said that Heineman had sexually assaulted her.

Police and Parmeter’s parents were notified. She told police that she was at the YCMA event and Heineman was working there. She said they went for a walk at about 10:30 p.m. They walked into the woods near the YMCA and began kissing. She said he left hickies on her neck and breast without her consent. She said that he wanted her to perform oral sex on him and when she refused, he tried to push her head to his groin. When she refused, he pushed her to the ground and walked away. Parmeter also said that Heineman put his hand down her pants and penetrated her vagina.

Parmeter’s mother took her to a hospital, where the hickies on her neck were swabbed. DNA tests later showed the presence of Heineman’s DNA on the swabs. Parmeter refused a vaginal exam.

The following day, police interviewed Heineman. He denied all of her allegations, but did admit he gave her a hickey on her neck. He said that Parmeter was obsessed with him and was a troubled person.

However, he was soon charged as a juvenile with second-degree sexual assault. Despite his insistence of his innocence, he agreed to plead guilty on December 6, 2017 to third-degree sexual assault. He was required to register as a sex offender but was not required to spend any time in custody.

Heineman, who was autistic, dropped out of school. He subsequently was ordered to undergo treatment at the Eau Claire Academy, a residential treatment center for youths with behavioral, mental, emotional or physical problems. There, he wound up being charged with battery after getting into a fight with another resident. In May 2018, he was sent to Lincoln Hills, a juvenile detention facility in Irma, Wisconsin.

A month later, he was hospitalized at the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison following suicide attempts and more fights with inmates at Lincoln Hills.

In September, 2018 he was released to a halfway house in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Instead of finding a job, he cut off his ankle bracelet and walked away. He later turned himself in and spent nine months in the Eau Claire County jail—working during the day and spending nights in a cell. But he again walked off. He was subsequently arrested and later convicted of escape and failing to update his sex offender registry address.

In June 2019, a woman who was counseling Parmeter through the Kinship of Polk County mentoring program in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin, said that Parmeter admitted that she had falsely accused Heineman.

The woman said that Parmeter said she had falsely accused Heineman and then, because the process had “moved quickly,” she was fearful of coming forward with the truth. The mentor said she spoke with Parmeter’s grandmother, who said that Parmeter had told her earlier that the accusation was false. The grandmother said that when she told Parmeter’s social worker, the social worker suggested that nothing be done.

On June 12, 2019, Parmeter was interviewed by police and admitted that her accusation was false. A police report of the interview quoted Parmeter as saying that when Heineman was found guilty, she knew that “nothing had happened, but she felt like she had to go through with everything after reporting it….she feels guilty about lying.”

On August 22, 2019, the St. Croix County State’s Attorney’s Office moved to vacate Heineman’s juvenile sexual assault conviction and sex offender requirements. On August 29, 2019, Judge Scott Needham granted the motion and the case was dismissed.

In January 2020, Parmeter was charged with defamation and obstructing police. The case was still pending in November 2020.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 11/12/2020
Last Updated: 11/12/2020
County:St. Croix
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2017
Age at the date of reported crime:16
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No