Relationship with student, ex-Kewaskum officer pleads not guilty

Steven Rosales

A former Kewaskum school resource officer charged with three felonies, accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, May 21.

Prosecutors said Steven Rosales, 34, exchanged explicit photos and more than 9,000 text messages with an 18-year-old high school student. The two met in his capacity as the school's resource officer, a position he started in 2022.

Court records show Rosales was also bound over for trial on Tuesday. He is due back in court in July.

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Case details

The Kewaskum School District superintendent told investigators a staff member reported the possible relationship involving Rosales and the victim, according to a complaint. The student's parents told police they went through their daughter's phone and learned about "a deeply troubling, potentially sexual relationship" with Rosales.

Investigators also spoke to the victim's parents. The victim turned 18 years old in December 2023, according to the complaint, and the victim's mother said the victim has some "learning disabilities." Text messages on the victim's phone were "very graphic and sexual in nature," the father said.


Former Kewaskum officer accused of bestiality appears in court

A former Kewaskum school resource officer appeared in Fond du Lac County on bestiality charges Wednesday, April 24. Cash bond was set at $100,000.

The complaint states the victim told investigators Rosales was "professional" through the end of 2023, and the relationship with him evolved in January. The victim said the first time she texted Rosales was to thank him for help with school work.

Conversations with Rosales initially became more sexual in person, the victim said, per the complaint. On one occasion, the victim said Rosales said, "Screw it, I find you physically attractive," when they were alone in his office around the end of February or beginning of March. The victim also remembered a text message in which he asked her for sex.

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The complaint states, while the victim was with family on a vacation during spring break, the victim said she exchanged sexually explicit photos with Rosales. The victim also said Rosales repeatedly asked for sexual acts while at the school, per the complaint.

Rosales had both a wife and a girlfriend at the time he was engaged in alleged misconduct with the student, per the complaint.

On April 5, the compliant states, Rosales knowingly and voluntarily spoke to investigators. He said he was "under a lot of stress" because his wife was pregnant and used conversations with the victim as "a stress release." He acknowledged text messages of a sexual nature, but maintained that no sexual contact took place. He also admitted that they exchanged sexually explicit photos via text during spring break. 

Investigators searched both Rosales and the victim's cellphones. A report from Rosales' phone "did not contain much of evidentiary value as all of his communications were via a web browser and stored through the platform, not on the device," according to the complaint. Investigators said those messages were also normally only accessible for around seven days before being erased or deleted. Once granted access to Rosales' "Text Now" account, the complaint states the messages "correlated" with what was found on the victim's phone.

The West Bend Police Department led the criminal investigation into Rosales' conduct.