Ethan’s Law moves forward: Senator discusses bill to protect kids from abusers

WATCH: Sen. Jacque discusses Ethan's Law
WATCH: Sen. Jacque discusses Ethan's Law
Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 5:06 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A bill in response to the child abuse death of a Manitowoc County boy is moving forward in the state legislature.

Ethan’s Law, which is aimed at protecting children from being placed with known abusers, has passed the Senate Committee on Human Services, Children and Families. It was a 5-0 vote. It now goes to the full Senate for vote.

CLICK HERE to read the full bill.

State Sen. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) is the primary author of the bill, which has bipartisan support. He joined us Thursday on Action 2 News at 4:30 to discuss the bill and why he believes it is so important. Watch the full interview above.

The bill is inspired by Ethan Hauschultz, 7. Jacque says Ethan’s Law would close the loophole that allowed Ethan to be placed with a caregiver who had a history of violence. Under the bill, human services could not place a child with an adult who has been found guilty of abusing a child or plea bargained the crime to a lesser charge.

“What happened to Ethan is unbelievably tragic,” Sen. Jacque said. “If the loopholes didn’t exist, Ethan and his two siblings could not have been placed in this home, and presumably Ethan would still be alive today. The system failed him, and we owe it to his memory to put proper guidelines in place.”

Action 2 News has been covering the story of Ethan Hauschultz since his death in April of 2018.

Ethan’s court appointed guardians, Timothy and Tina Hauschultz, are charged in the boy’s death. Timothy and Tina’s son, Damian, is also charged in Ethan’s death.

Criminal complaints filed in the case state Ethan was hit, kicked, poked, repeatedly shoved to the ground, and a heavy log was rolled across his chest by Damian Hauschultz, who was 14 at the time. The older boy “stood on (Ethan’s) body and head while Ethan was face-down in a puddle. He ultimately buried Ethan completely in snow,” reads the criminal complaint.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Ethan died from hypothermia and blunt force injuries to his head, chest and abdomen.

Ethan and his siblings were put in the Hauschultzes’ care in 2017. The siblings told investigators Timothy Hauschultz frequently punished them by making them walk laps around the yard carrying heavy logs, which he picks out. The siblings said that week they were required to carry wood every day for two hours a day for not knowing their Bible verses.

Damian Hauschultz told investigators he was frustrated because the younger boys were dropping the wood every 5 minutes. When Ethan became unresponsive, he thought the boy was just resisting, so he buried him under packed snow and ice.

Investigators asked Damian how much snow was covering Ethan. Damian replied by saying Ethan “was in his own little coffin of snow.” He then laughed, according to a criminal complaint.

Tina McKeever Hauschultz, 38, is charged with Child Abuse and Contribute to Delinquency (Death). She has a plea and sentencing hearing scheduled for March 12.

Timothy Hauschultz, 50, is charged with Felony Murder, Child Abuse, Battery and Contribute to Delinquency (Death). His next court hearing is April 19.

Damian Hauschultz, 17, is charged with 1st Degree Reckless Homicide, Child Abuse, and Substantial Battery. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 5.

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