Wis. teen pleads guilty in Facebook sex case

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WAUKESHA, Wis.Anthony Stancl, the former New Berlin Eisenhower High School student accused of using the social networking site Facebook to coerce male schoolmates into sexual encounters, was found guilty Tuesday of two counts of sexual assault.

Stancl was convicted by Waukesha County Circuit Judge James R. Kieffer after Stancl entered no contest pleas to the two felonies, which involved separate sexual assaults of two boys.

As part of a plea bargain, 10 other felony counts
were dismissed but will be considered when Stancl is sentenced. No
sentencing date was set Tuesday.

District Attorney Brad Schimel said he will ask that Stancl receive a substantial prison term when he is sentenced.

The 19-year-old Stancl faces up to 30 years in
prison and 20 years of extended supervision when released from prison.
Had he been convicted of all 12 counts, Stancl faced up to 176.5 years
behind bars.

Schimel said in court that Stancl’s victims agreed
with the plea bargain and were pleased that a trial requiring them to
testify was avoided. The case had been scheduled to go to trial in
January.

“I contacted each and every one of the victims in
this matter, and each of them felt that this was a very positive
resolution of the case. It was important for them that this be resolved
before the holidays,” Schimel said told Kieffer. “Frankly, judge, I’ve
never had a case where victims and parents have been more apprehensive
about testifying than in this case. There has been an enormous amount
of publicity, maybe unprecedented in a child sexual assault case, and
all happening in a school where all of the victims went, along with the
defendant.”

“This resolution is something that is going to set
them at ease in the coming weeks. This was going to continue to get
more troubling to them as we approached trial. So this resolution is
something that I view as a fair resolution and from the victims’
perspective, they are relieved that we are doing this,” Schimel said.

Stancl showed no emotion during the hearing, mostly
offering responses of “Yes sir,” when Kieffer asked him a number of
questions related to the plea agreement.

Stancl and his attorney, Craig M. Kuhary, declined comment after the hearing.

Stancl, of New Berlin, was charged Feb. 4
with repeated sexual assault of the same child, possession of child
pornography, second- and third-degree sexual assault, five counts of
child enticement and one count of causing a bomb scare.

He was convicted of repeated sexual assault of the same child and third-degree sexual assault.

Stancl is accused of posing as a girl on Facebook,
persuading at least 31 boys to send him pictures of them naked and then
blackmailing some of the boys into performing sex acts under the threat
that the pictures would be released to the rest of the high school,
according to a criminal complaint.

At least seven boys, 15 to 17, were forced into performing sex acts, Schimel had said.

The sexual assaults occurred in a bathroom at the high school, the school parking lot, a New Berlin Public Library restroom, Valley View Park, Malone Park, Minooka Park and at some of the victims’ homes.

The investigation into Stancl began after bomb threats on Nov. 12 and 13, 2008, led to the closure of Eisenhower on Nov. 14, 2008. Officers discovered the threat came from an e-mail sent from a computer at the New Berlin Public Library.

It was sent at a time that Stancl was logged onto
the computer, according to the criminal complaint. As police were
investigating the bomb threat, one of Stancl’s victims came forward.

The case drew national media attention in part because of the Facebook aspect and the use of cell phones to send photos.

“I think a lot of parents learned something from
this,” Schimel said outside the courtroom after Stancl was convicted.
“Usually in child sexual assault cases …the media attention is
relatively minor. … This one has just attracted a lot of attention
because it’s bigger than what just happened here. There are people all
over the country looking at this, I hope, and questioning what are kids
up to. What are kids doing with their photo phones? What are they doing
on their computers? There’s been this other message beyond just dealing
with the defendant and the victims.”

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