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Former Eau Claire Regional Arts Center director accepts plea deal; could have charges dismissed

Eau Claire Co. (WQOW) – The former executive director of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center pleaded guilty to an amended charge Tuesday.

Ben Richgruber entered the plea to a misdemeanor charge of lewd and lascivious behavior as part of a plea deal. That negates the need for the planned jury trial later this month.

Richgruber pleaded not guilty last August to third degree sexual assault. He was charged in February of 2018, after a woman told police Richgruber drover her from a bar to his office in 2016, where he had sex with her against her will.

Richgruber resigned from the arts center a month after the charges were filed.

Under the terms of the deal, Richgruber must undergo a sex offender assessment and follow any recommended treatment. If Richgruber stays out of trouble for a year, the misdemeanor charge will also be dismissed.

Samantha Wensel

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