Wednesday, February 24, 2010

18 year old accused of sexual coercion, blackmail of HS students pleads guilty in suburban MIlwaukee courtroom, gets 15 years prison

(Original Post 2-5-09)

An 18 year old man originally investigated for a bomb scare at the New Berlin High School was charged with sexual assault, and other offenses for coercing fellow male students into sex using Facebook. If found guilty on all charges, he faces 293 years in prison.

Anthony "Tony" Stancl, 18 was charged with posing as a girl to trick 31 boys, ranging in age from 13 to 19, into posing for nude pitcures. The boys, all Stancl's former classmates, were contacted through their Facebook pages. While posing as a girl, Stancl threatened to release the nude photos to the public unless the victims agreed to perform sex acts.

The sexual assaults occurred in 2008 in a bathroom at the high school, the school parking lot, a New Berlin Public Library restroom, parks and at some of the victims' homes, according to the criminal complaint. At least seven boys, 15 to 17, were forced into performing sex acts, the complaint says.
Police learned of Stancl's alleged activities after he was accused in a bomb threat that closed Eisenhower and one victim came forward to police.

Stancl, who was expelled after the bomb scare, is charged with a bomb threat, plus repeated sexual assault of same child (at least three violations of first- or second-degree sexual assault), possession of child pornography, second- and third-degree sexual assaults and five counts of child enticement.

The child porn charges stem from 600 photos of both commercial porn and about 300 photos/movie clips of the New Berlin victims found on Stancl's computer.

(Update 7-16-09) Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis lowered Stancl's bail from $250,000 to $75,000, a move which puts his release within reach. Defense attorney Craig M. Kuhary said that Stancl's parents were able to access $75,000 in their retirement funds. Stancl's parents will also pay the $20 per day electronic monitoring fee.

Kuhary said Stancl would like to get his high school diploma, possibly from New Berlin West or Waukesha County Technical College. Davis said he will allow Stancl to complete his education but he can be on school grounds only for scheduled purposes and with adult supervision.

Davis said Stancl would be allowed to go to the homes of his grandparents in West Allis and Hartland, his attorney's office, police departments and court. Stancl would not be permitted to use the library, access the Internet, or possess a cell phone.

District Attorney Brad Schimel objected to the bail reduction due to the severity of the charges and the potential maximum sentence in convicted. The New Berlin School District, through its Superintendent Paul Kreutzer, released a statement saying, in its entirety, "Mr. Anthony Stancl, under no circumstances, will be involved at any level with the School District of New Berlin."

GQ has a story, "Sextortion At Eisenhower High," which gives much more background into this case.

(Update 12-22-09) Tony Stancl pled guilty before Waukesha County Circuit Judge James R. Kieffer to 2 counts of sexual assault on a child in a Waukesha County, WI courtroom today. 10 other charges against him were dropped by prosecutors as a result of the plea agreement. District Attorney Brad Schimel is asking for a substantial prison sentence, which could be as long as 30 years with 20 years of extended supervision after release. If Stancl had went to trial and been convicted on all charges, he would have faced 176 1/2 years in prison.

Schimel's view about the agreement and outcome of the case is below.

 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....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.

 I think a lot of parents learned something from this. 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.

(Update 2-25-10) Stancl was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 13 years of extended supervision this afternoon by Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis because as someone who has proven to been manipulative and self-centered, he was still potentially dangerous and "I am afraid of what he can and might do."

District Attorney Brad Schimel asked for "substantial" prison time, without being specific. No victims spoke at the sentencing, but some had sent letters asking for substantial prison time. Some of the victims required hospitalization for suicidal thoughts, medication or have had to undergo therapy, Schimel said.

Schimel said substantial prison time was needed because of the number of victims, the scheming nature of the crime and the impact on victims. He also said that the very nature of the crime - repeatedly coercing sex by extortion - was a pattern of deviant sexual behavior. Schimel also cited a 2004 juvenile case in which Stancl, then 13, was found delinquent for sexual assault of a 3-year old in a home where he was a babysitter.

Defense attorney Craig Kuhary suggested 5 years in prison with a decade of extended supervision, stating that Stancl's problems began after he was outed as gay by a former "lover" who went to his school. "Once word got out that he was gay, everything shut down," Kuhary said.

Stancl's uncle, Al Turk, from California spoke on behalf of the family saying his nephew and godson was loving, intelligent, athletic, a former altar boy and a technological whiz kid who worked at a software company while going to school and maintaining good grades.

"Like many young men his age, he's made a serious mistake," Turk said. Emphasizing his Catholic upbringing in a supportive and forgiving family, Turk said he remains a joy to his family who'll be there for him when his "penance" is served.

Stancl himself made a statement saying that he needed to treat others the way he wanted to be treated, and that after prison, "I am determined to become once again a productive and law-abiding citizen."

Besides prison, extended supervision, and the sex offender list, Stancl was banned from contact with the victims or their families, the New Berlin school district under any circumstances. He can't use the Internet or have contact with minors without correctional supervision after he gets out of prison.

Schimel explained his role in the prosecution of Stancl. "I had two jobs here. I had a job to get him locked up for some reasonable amount of time to protect the community, but I also had to look out for the welfare of these seven kids, and I think we struck that balance. I asked for substantial prison, and 15 years of initial confinement followed by 13 years of extended supervision is a substantial prison sentence that takes away Anthony Stancl's youth," said Schimel.

He also reiterated that parents must be on guard when it comes to electronic devices and protection from sexual predation. "They have to know that the more capability they give their kids electronically with this stuff, the less control they have over their kid's safety."
Last, but certainly not least, Schimel reminded parents that this was how most sex offenders work. "This is how sex offenders work. They compromise their victims. Very few of the sexual assaults we see involve some sort of person jumping out of the bushes and grabbing someone. Most of the time, it's someone that the victim knows, and they get manipulated into a position where it becomes difficult to say something, to speak out. That's what happened with these kids."

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