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Eight years for former La Crosse schools show choir director who sexually assaulted students



Dustin Bagstad (left) consults with defense attorney Keith Belzer at his sentencing on Monday

The former La Crosse School District show choir director, who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting teenage girls, was sentenced to eight years in prison with no possibility for early release.


Dustin Bagstad was arrested in 2017, after 14- and 15-year-old girls came forward to accuse him of sexually assaulting them, starting when they were high school students taking part in show choir.

The two victims spoke in court Monday about how they are often reminded of what Bagstad did to them. One girl said the 34-year-old committed the “cruelest of acts,” and told him, “You broke me.”

After Bagstad serves his prison term, he will be on probation for seven more years, plus extended supervision more than 30 years after that.

Late last year, Bagstad entered guilty pleas on 5 of 19 criminal charges of second-degree sexual assault of a child.

“No student, faculty member, or community member bears any blame or fault for what has transpired,” Bagstad told the court at Monday’s sentencing. “I made terrible choices and those choices were my own.”

As part of the sentence, Judge Todd Bjerke said Bagstad cannot enter into a relationship, have contact with anyone under 18, or access the internet unless he gets approval for any of those things from a probation agent.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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