Ex-federal agent charged with sexual assaults withdraws request to restrict news coverage

Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | 4:32 p.m. CT April 10, 2018

A one-time federal agent charged with sexually assaulting three women has withdrawn a request that a judge order the news media not to show his face.

David S. Scharlat, 53, of Oconomowoc, claimed in a filing last week that sensitive, undercover cases he works on for the Diplomatic Security Service, an arm of the U.S. State Department, would be compromised and his own safety put at risk if his face was shown during coverage of his case.

After the Journal Sentinel reported the request Monday, Scharlat’s attorney, Paul Bucher, told Waukesha County Circuit Judge Maria Lazar in a letter that Scharlat wanted to withdraw the “petition for non-disclosure of facial identity” and asked that a 10 a.m. hearing on the issue set for Wednesday be removed from her calendar.

Scharlat’s initial appearance on the charges remains set for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the criminal complaint, the victims say Scharlat assaulted them at a hotel, the home of a former Brookfield police lieutenant and Scharlat’s own home over a span of four years. The women told investigators that Scharlat reminded them he was a federal agent and sometimes kept his gun and badge nearby during the assaults.

In unrelated federal court papers in 2012, Scharlat was identified as a State Department agent. When Scharlat was charged March 30, a State Department spokesman would not explain his status.  Bucher said then that Scharlat was on administrative leave.

On Tuesday, a State Department official said Scharlat was hired in 2001 and fired in April 2015.

“The Department has zero tolerance for sexual assault and takes any and all allegations of sexual assault very seriously,” and has been cooperating with Waukesha County authorities, the official said in an email.

Diplomatic security special agents investigate passport and visa fraud, human smuggling and trafficking, sexual assault of department personnel overseas, foreign intelligence directed at State employees and other matters.