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Wisconsin domestic partners accused of separate crimes

A Wisconsin man whose domestic partner was being investigated for an embezzlement crime has been accused of two felony sex crimes after police collected evidence from the men's home.

Although the two cases aren't related and only one of the men is accused of the sex crimes, that man may have used his partner's photo and possessions in the actions that led to his charges. He's accused of conspiring with another man to lure a 17-year-old boy into a van for a sexual encounter.

According to a criminal complaint, the man first contacted the boy because the teen posted a "man seeking man" ad on Craigslist in August 2010. Within five hours, a text message was sent from the man's phone. It was the first of 115 texts to the teen, who replied with 97 texts of his own over several months. The man's messages often contained "we" references, and he allegedly sent the teen a photo of him with his partner holding martini glasses, suggesting the partner was a party to the text conversations.

In November 2010, the teen appeared willing to meet the two men. On the day they were scheduled to meet, the teen reported seeing the partner's van where the teen said he would be, but he decided not to go through with the planned sexual encounter. Investigators corroborated references in the man's texts about where he had been that day with records of purchases with the domestic couple's joint credit card.

Unlike many other child enticement cases, this case involves a teen who actively sought a sexual encounter. The complaint specifies that the teen told the man he was almost 19 years old, even though he was secretly underage and made references to being in high school and living with his parents.

Also different is the fact that the man is accused of having a co-conspirator, but no one else is facing charges. He may have simply used his partner's name and likeness to attract the teen. However, there is evidence that suggests both men procured online pornography involving post-pubescent boys. (Because it couldn't be determined how old the boys are, neither has been charged with underage pornography.)

The man made his first court appearance this week and could have a long legal road ahead of him. In a case like this with potentially mitigating circumstances, it's in a suspect's best interest to retain an attorney experienced in defense of sex crimes.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Embezzlement probe also results in sex charges," Bruce Vielmetti, Jan. 6, 2012

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