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A Rochester man and former Mayo Clinic Health System physician today entered guilty pleas to child sex abuse charges in Wisconsin.

Court records indicate 41-year-old Joseph Poterucha admitted to second and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges through a plea deal with prosecutors in La Crosse County. He had been facing multiple counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and was scheduled to stand trial in July.

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Poterucha, who most recently lived at an address in southwest Rochester, was accused of having sexual contact with three young girls at a residence in La Crosse. In at least one of the cases, the charges stated that he had threatened to harm the victim if she were to report the sexual abuse. The court documents stated the most recent alleged assault occurred in October 2021, while the two other cases involve incidents that occurred in October 2019.

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Poterucha was employed by the Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse when the sexual abuse took place but none of the crimes occurred on Mayo Clinic property. Mayo Clinic issued a statement after the charges were filed indicating Poterucha had been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation. He is no longer employed by Mayo Clinic.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for the afternoon of July 31.

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