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Whitewater man charged with stalking

(Published Nov. 14, 2007, 10:17 a.m.)

Walworth County prosecutors have charged a Whitewater man with stalking the former Walworth County Fairest of the Fair, who is now Wisconsin Fairest of the Fair. Joseph G. Schraeder, 58, of 147 Hyer Lane, No. 4, reportedly asked Sheri Nelson to be his "first lady" in June at the Walworth County Diary Breakfast. He then told her he was planning their wedding for a year later, according to a criminal complaint. It didn't stop there, according to the complaint: Schraeder "vehemently" volunteered to be in the milk-chugging competition Nelson was coordinating at the breakfast. The next day in Mukwonago, Schraeder followed Nelson down the street, calling her name when she was in the parade. She later received a card and pictures from him in the mail. A deputy told Schraeder not to contact Nelson but she got more mail from him in August, including a marriage proposal. Nelson reported feeling scared for her safety and emotional distress. An officer contacted Schraeder on Oct. 10 about the letters, and said it was his First Amendment right to send her "fan mail." Schraeder was charged Oct. 24 and arrested Thursday. In court Thursday, he said he couldn't understand why he was arrested. "I recognize that it was two months ago," he said at a bail hearing Thursday. "You're beating a dead horse, here. I completely forgot about that incident two months ago." Schraeder, who has been convicted of violating a restraining order in 2001 and harassment in 2002, was ordered held on a $1,000 bond.

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