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Man charged with sex crimes by arranging to meet underage girl

Wisconsin and other states devote significant time to tracking potential sexual predators online. One method that local police departments use to catch potential sex crimes violators is to engage in online discussions with the suspect. A female undercover agent poses as an underage girl who develops a communicating relationship with the suspect.

They may trade inappropriate photos and engage in talk involving sexual acts. Eventually, they may set up a time, date and location for a get-together and for sexual relations.  This scenario sets the general backdrop for the recent arrest of a man who resides in another state and who traveled to Wisconsin to meet a 14-year-old girl, allegedly for sex.

Altoona Police arrested the 28-year-old South Dakota man when he allegedly appeared at a designated location in Wisconsin to meet the 14-year-old girl. Three sex crimes charges were filed in Eau Claire County Court, including a count of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. The criminal complaint alleges that the man emailed back and forth with the girl, and that he asked her to send photos.

The first potential defense to investigate in this prosecution is the possibility of entrapment. There are many questions that must be asked regarding how aggressive the police undercover agent may have been in encouraging the man, and in making false statements to him. How was it discussed and whose idea was it to come to Wisconsin to have sex?  Criminal intent is another major area of inquiry because the perpetrator must act with criminal knowledge and intent.

Several other potential defense issues may be explored under Wisconsin law. The prosecution, for example, will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused believed that he was talking with an underage girl. If the circumstances show that he reasonably believed he was talking with an adult, then there is likely to be insufficient evidence to convict. In this case, of course, he really was talking with an adult and therefore in a certain sense he could not commit sex crimes if he was not actually interacting with a minor.

Source:, “Wisconsin criminal arrest“, Dec. 12, 2017

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