An 18-year-old male student from Wisconsin has been accused of posing as a female on Facebook in a plot to trick at least 31 male classmates into sending nude pictures of themselves and then using the images to blackmail them into performing sex acts.
Anthony Stancl of New Berlin was charged Wednesday with five counts of child enticement, two counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child, two counts of third-degree sexual assault, possession of child pornography, repeated sexual assault of the same child, and making a bomb threat. He faces a maximum sentence of 293 years in prison if convicted.
"The kind of manipulation that occurred here is really sinister in my estimation," a prosecutor told the Associated Press.
Stancl plans to plead not guilty, his attorney told the news agency.
The allegations are the latest graphic example of the heap of trouble waiting for naive teens who send sexually explicit images of themselves over the email or text messages. Last month, six high school students in Pennsylvania were charged under state child pornography statutes for sending and receiving nude images of each other using cell phones. Last year, a 15-year old girl was arrested on felony child pornography charges for allegedly sending nude pictures of herself to classmates.
According to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday, Stancl used a bogus Facebook profile to contact boys at his high school and trick them into sending nude photos of videos of themselves. Thirty-one victims were identified, and more than half said the female - who called herself Emily or Kayla - tried to get them to meet a male friend of hers and engage in sex with him. The extortion scheme happened from Spring 2007 through November.
The female told them she would send the incriminating images to their friends and post them on the internet if the victims refused. Stancl used the threats to repeatedly force the victims to perform sex acts.
The complaint identified seven boys by their initials as having to engage in sex with Stancl. The student took pictures of the encounters on his cell phone. Some of the victims were as young as 15.
Police learned of the alleged plot while investigating Stancl as a suspect in a bomb threat that was made to his school in November. Police say they found some 300 nude images of juvenile males on his computer.
He is being held on $250,000 bail because police consider him a flight risk. They also consider him dangerous because he allegedly left a note on the car window of one of his victims, threatening him for speaking to the police. The Associated Press article is here. ®