Working with victims, witnesses
By Robert Cloud
Waupaca County has a new victim-witness coordinator and victim-witness specialist.
Chris Andraschko has taken over the position previously held by Mary Lea St. Thomas, who passed away in March.
He will be working with Maryann Carlson, who will spend half her time as the county’s victim-witness specialist and the other half as a legal assistant for the district attorney’s office.
Andraschko has spent most of his life in the Waupaca area.
A 1989 graduate of Waupaca High School, Andraschko earned his associate’s degree in police science in 1991 from Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton.
He also attended the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy at Fort McCoy.
From 1992 to 2000, Andraschko was a patrol officer for the Waupaca Police Department.
“Then, I worked in some other fields outside of the criminal justice system, but I couldn’t find a good fit for me,” Andraschko said.
In 2007, Andraschko became a corrections officer for the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office. He was promoted to corrections sergeant in 2013.
“I have a long history in the criminal justice system dealing with the offender side,” Andraschko said, regarding his decision to change careers. “I thought dealing with the other side – victims and witnesses – would be more rewarding.”
One of the challenges he faces in his new position is assisting victims compassionately while helping them navigate a court system tey do not fully understand.
Andreschko has been married for 25 years and has two children. He is also an avid outdoorsman.
Carlson is a 2009 graduate of Omro High School who earned an associate’s degree in paralegal studies in 2014 at Globe University in Appleton.
She worked as an intern at the Waupaca County district attorney’s office in 2014, then was hired as a legal assistant in the Fond du Lac County district attorney’s office in 2015.
As a victim-witness specialist, Carlson will also be working with victims and their families, while Andreschko’s responsibilities will include county and law enforcement committee meetings.
She will also provide assistance to Assistant District Attorney Warren Zier, who works part time.
Carlson, whose maiden name is Lepianka, plans to be married on Aug. 5 in Oshkosh.