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New Berlin teen accused of using Facebook for sexual blackmail

Feb. 5, 2009

New Berlin - A former New Berlin Eisenhower student was accused Wednesday of a pattern of manipulation and deception using the social networking site Facebook to coerce male schoolmates into sexual encounters.

Anthony R. Stancl, 18, posing as a female on Facebook, persuaded at least 31 boys to send him naked pictures of themselves and then blackmailed some of the boys into performing sex acts under the threat that the pictures would be released to the rest of the high school, according a criminal complaint.

All 31 boys attend New Berlin Eisenhower Middle/High School, said Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel.

The sexual assaults occurred in a bathroom at the high school, the school parking lot, a New Berlin Public Library restroom, Valley View Park, Malone Park, Minooka Park and at some of the victims' homes, according to the complaint.

At least seven boys, 15 to 17, were forced into performing sex acts, Schimel said. The incidents occurred from spring 2008 until the time of Stancl's arrest in November. Stancl had 300 photos and movie clips on his computer of boys from the school, ages 13 to 19, Schimel said.

The investigation into Stancl began after bomb threats on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 led to the closure of Eisenhower on Nov 14. Officers discovered the threat came from an e-mail sent from a computer at the New Berlin Public Library.

It was sent at a time that Stancl was logged onto the computer, according to the criminal complaint. He was arrested on suspicion of making the bomb threats and released because authorities didn't believe he was a threat to the public.

Schimel said that while the closing of school because of the bomb scare was costly and inconvenient, the charge "pales in comparison" to what investigators learned later. As police were investigating the bomb threat, one victim came forward, he said.

The boy, who was 15 at the time of the assaults, said he was repeatedly forced into sexual acts with Stancl, according to the complaint. Stancl took pictures of every encounter and was able to coerce the boy into repeated sexual acts by telling him the girl he met on Facebook would release the pictures to the rest of the school if they didn't continue to meet, the complaint says.

The boy went to his parents and then the police after Stancl asked the boy to get nude pictures of his brother, the complaint says. The boy refused to get his brother involved.

Stancl, who has been expelled from school, is accused of following a similar pattern with at least six other boys.

More than 300 naked photos and movie clips of New Berlin boys and another 600 professionally made pornographic movies of children were found on the computer, which had been confiscated during the bomb threat investigation, Schimel said. The photos and movie clips were separated into 39 folders that were labeled using the boys' names or screen names.

More victims possible

Authorities believe there are more victims and are urging them to come forward, New Berlin Police Lt. Mike Glider said.

The resulting investigation also turned up computer evidence that Stancl pulled images of females from their Facebook pages and used them to persuade male students to e-mail nude photographs to Stancl, according to the criminal complaint.

A criminal complaint charges Stancl with the 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 maximum penalty if convicted on all charges is nearly 300 years in prison.

Stancl made his initial appearance Wednesday in Waukesha County Circuit Court in Waukesha and was ordered held on $250,000 bail.

"In this court's 7 1/2 years on the bench, this is the most horrific complaint the court has ever reviewed," Waukesha Circuit Court Commissioner Laura Florian Lau said. "The defendant is facing 293 years if convicted on these 12 counts. . . . This is a crime allegedly that involved many, many, many victims. The court is extremely concerned as to whether defendant will return to court."

As a condition of bail, Stancl cannot have access to any computers, cell phones or Internet-capable devices. He also was ordered not to be on any school grounds, including school parking lots, and is prohibited from entering the New Berlin Public Library.

Lau ordered him to have no contact with minors or any of the victims.

During Stancl's court appearance, Schimel said that in the days prior to Stancl's arrest, a victim told authorities that he found a note on the windshield of his vehicle, presumably from Stancl.

The note said, "I know what you told police." It included statements that "this wasn't going to end up well as a result of that," Schimel said.

Stancl's attorney, Craig M. Kuhary, said Stancl has cooperated with authorities during the investigation and is not a flight risk.

After the hearing, Kuhary declined to comment, except to say that only one side of the case has been disclosed.

A preliminary hearing for Stancl has been scheduled for Feb. 26.

On Nov. 14, two bomb threats resulted in the closure of New Berlin Eisenhower.

The first threat, "Bomb 11/14/08" was found scrawled on the wall of a boys bathroom on Nov. 12.

On Nov. 13, school administrators received an e-mail that stated, "Good luck tomorrow. Boom. It won't be your average one either. It will be one that is manned. Not by me, but by those who follow me. New Berlin Eisenhower High School."

Stancl was taken into custody on Nov. 14 by New Berlin police after he admitted he played a role in e-mailing a bomb threat to the school, police said. According to the criminal complaint, he didn't do anything to place a bomb in the school but decided to send the e-mail to "make it a better story," the complaint says.

School Superintendent Paul Kreutzer would not discuss details of Stancl's school record, but said, "I would just say that he was not someone who would've drawn attention to himself in a negative manner."

Krissy Hashek, 17, a senior at Eisenhower, said students were aware that Stancl was a suspect in the bomb threat but not that investigators were pursuing sex charges, too.

"I don't think anyone saw this coming," she said. "A lot of people were just saying, 'Wow, I didn't know anything like this could happen in New Berlin.' "

Scott Williams of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

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