Any criminal charge or conviction can be destructive to the lives of Wisconsin defendants. Some of the most severe consequences are the result of sex crime allegations, particularly charges involving minors, because of the public's sensitivity toward possible child sexual abuse.
A 40-year-old man recently pleaded guilty to charges of jumping bail and child enticement. The Rothschild man, a former volunteer for the Boy Scouts, was among a group of over 20 Wisconsin residents taken into custody last October during a regional task force sting known as Operation AEGIS, targeting online child predators.
A report released by Marathon County law enforcement officials stated the defendant answered a "casual encounters" ad in Craigslist posted by an undercover agent. The officer, pretending to be 15, apparently was asked by the ad respondent to meet at a Wal-Mart parking lot and proceed to a secluded place.
According to a 2014 report in the Wausau Daily Herald, the defendant had condoms in his possession at the time of his arrest. He denied plans to follow through with sexual acts the man reportedly described in emails to the "teen" officer. The defendant initially faced a charge of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.
An August sentencing date was set following the guilty plea for the felony. Penalties for child enticement include a maximum fine of $100,000 and a possible prison term as long as 25 years.
Plea bargaining allows defendants to reach compromises with prosecutors. The accused person trades a guilty plea for a concession, like a dropped or reduced charge or a lighter sentence. As long as judges concur with prosecutors' recommendations, plea deals produce known outcomes – something a jury trial cannot guarantee.
Criminal defense attorneys advise defendants whether plea bargaining is possible or beneficial to a case. In some instances, depending upon circumstances, a trial may be the better course of action.
Source: Wausau Daily Herald, "Former Boy Scout volunteer pleads guilty in sex sting," Raina Beutel, June 04, 2015