WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- The five men arrested in Marathon County in an undercover online sex crimes sting were in court Monday.
The investigation was coordinated by the Brown County Sheriff’s Department, and led to a total of nineteen arrests in several counties.
Marathon County Assistant District Attorney Amanda Jadin says the Brown County Sheriff’s Department coordinated the sting operation with officers from several jurisdictions. “This was an investigation that was conducted over the course of the weekend, and it involved online postings, and I’ll refer to the specifics within the criminal complaint. There were postings online which these individuals did respond to, and then subsequently meet up with undercover law enforcement officers.”
The five arrested in marathon County were 44-year-old Todd Jelinski of Schofield, 36-year-old Steve Krall from Stratford, 19-year-old Peter Galioto form Wausau, 58-year-old Dennis Rice from Wausau, and 51-year-old Jeffrey Beckman from Rosholt.
Prosecutor Jadin says the use of computers and the Internet is dangerous for victims, and that’s why online predators face mandatory minimum sentences. “Many of these individuals were charged with use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, and that crime in and of itself does carry with it a mandatory minimum imprisonment of five years in prison, so should they be convicted, they do face a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.”
Jadin says you never know just who will respond to the postings in online publications such as Craigslist or Backpage.com. “It is often unpredictable to see who answers these online postings, and the ages that are involved in responding to these postings.”
Rice is a City of Wausau public works employee, and has been placed on administrative leave. He is charged with using a computer to facilitate a sex crime with a 15-year-old boy, who was really an officer waiting for him at Rib Mountain Walmart. He faces between 5 and 40 years in prison if convicted. Rice is being held on a $5,000 bond with the first $1,000 to be paid in cash.
Beckman faces the most serious charges. Jadin says they believe he is a risk to the community, and more charges against him are possible. “A search warrant was conducted on his residence and based on what was recovered there, as well as the initial contact that he was proposing, the state did feel that he was a significant danger to the community.”
So far, the Rosholt man faces seven felonies including trying to arrange for sex with a 12-year-old girl, sex trafficking, child enticement, and multiple counts of possession of child pornography including photos and DVD disks. Beckman is being held on a $250,000 cash bond. He could be sentenced to nearly 200 years of prison time if convicted.
Krall is charged with child enticement and using a computer to facilitate a sex crime by trying to arrange contact with a 15-year-old girl. Bond was set at $2,500 cash. If he posts bond, he cannot have contact with minor children including his own three who are between 12 and 16-years-old. He could spend from 5 to 40 years in prison if convicted.
Jelinski has a single charge of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime with a 15-year-old boy. Bond was set at $1,500 cash. Jelinski is a case worker for a health facility. The court ordered Jelinski to have no unsupervised contact with children at work if he posts bond. He faces between 5 and 40 years in prison if convicted.
Galioto is charged with using a computer to facilitate a sex crime for arranging to meet a 15-year-old “Sara” at Marathon Park for sex. Sara was really a Wausau Police Department undercover officer. He also faces between 5 and 40 years in prison if convicted.