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Tong Yang. (Courtesy Portage Co. Jail)

Preliminary hearing scheduled for man charged with violent sex assault

By Brandi Makuski

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for a Stevens Point man charged with sexually assaulting his common-law wife.

Tong Yang, 30, has been charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault/use of force, kidnapping/use of a dangerous weapon, three counts of intimidating a victim/use of a dangerous weapon, two counts of false imprisonment/use of a dangerous weapon, intentionally contributing to the delinquency of a minor/use of a dangerous weapon, and endangering safety/use of a dangerous weapon.

Yang was released on a signature bond on Oct. 19 by Branch II Circuit Court Judge Robert Shannon, despite the request for a cash bond by Assistant District Attorney Brian Pfeil.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim, a 28-year-old woman, reported an incident, which occurred earlier that day on the 2100 block of Welsby Ave. in Stevens Point, to police in Rib Mountain while the couple was in Marathon Co. on Oct. 18. The woman called 911 via a cell phone she’d hidden in her pocket before they left home, the complaint said.

Police transported the couple back to the SPPD, where Yang was placed under arrest and the two were interviewed in separate rooms.

Yang explained to police that his common-law wife had threatened to leave him in the past and had done so again that day. During the argument, he carried her, against her will, into the couple’s bedroom, where he forced the woman to grasp a pair of scissors and told her to stab him because he would rather die than see her leave, according to the complaint. When the woman threw the scissors to the side, Yang took a pocket knife from the bedside table and repeated the action, but the woman again threw the knife to the side.

At that moment, the couple’s five-year-old child knocked on the bedroom door and asked for Yang. Yang instructed the child to bring him a knife. The child brought him a “smaller kitchen knife,” the complaint said, then Yang closed and locked the door and again forced the woman to grasp the knife.

The woman threw the knife under the bed. Yang told police after that, the woman agreed to stay with him and their children.

Yang also allegedly blocked her from leaving the room during the argument. When she attempted to call 911, he “grabbed her phone and threw it,” the complaint said.

The woman told police that Yang then “pinned her down on the bed” while attempting to pull down her clothing and sexually assault her. She was ultimately able to fight him off by punching him, the complaint said.

Yang’s brother was asleep in a basement bedroom, and three of the couple’s four children were in the living room during the incident and likely witnessed at least part of what happened, according to the complaint.

When confronted with the woman’s side of the story, Yang said before the woman threatened to leave him that day, he “hugged her,” then said he carried her into the bedroom and attempted to remove her clothing to engage in intercourse, but stopped when she said no. When asked why he didn’t give that information upfront, Yang explained he felt it was too personal.

The woman told police that Yang forced himself on her every time she attempted to leave him. When she declined his advances Yang would “do crazy things,” the complaint said, such as “get his gun and a bullet and tell [her] that she should kill him or he will kill himself unless they had sexual intercourse.”

Yang kept a .22 rifle for squirrel hunting, as well as a bow and arrows, in a safe in the basement, the woman said.

About a month ago, the woman said she left Yang with one of their children and fled to her parent’s home in Minnesota, but Yang followed her in the middle of the night. Her parents convinced her to return with Yang to Stevens Point, according to the complaint.

The woman said she had prevented Yang from hurting himself on several occasions by letting him have sex with her. “It was easier to have sexual intercourse with Yang even though she did not want to because then she could get some sleep,” the complaint said.

During the incident on Oct. 18, Yang reportedly told the woman he wanted to go to Rib Mountain to kill himself. She attempted to block him from leaving the home but eventually agreed to accompany him with some of their children so they could “just go for a walk” in a park there, instead of Yang harming himself, the complaint said.

The woman grabbed a decommissioned cell phone from the home before they left and hid it in her jacket pocket without Yang’s knowledge, the complaint said. When the family arrived at the park, Yang began to talk with one of their children about “jumping off one of the cliffs.”

When Yang exited the vehicle, she called 911 and the police arrived a short time later.

Judge Shannon initially implemented conditions of Yang’s bond to include having no contact with the victim, her residence, or her children. He later amended those conditions, at the request of the victim, to read “no abusive contact” after the woman filed a family safety plan with the Family Crisis Center, the Clerk of Courts, and the DA’s office. Yang is also not to have any unsupervised contact with the couple’s youngest child.

Yang’s preliminary hearing has been set for Jan. 10.