3 charged in latest computer sex crime sting
Tim Ryan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Three men have been charged as a result of Shawano County’s latest computer sex sting operation.
Frank M. Peak, 46, of Antigo, Andrew M. Wildt, 37, of Irma, and John M. Groenewold, 53, of Waupun, could each face a maximum 40 years in prison and $100,000 fine if convicted of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.
The arrests bring to 46 the number of men arrested by Shawano County authorities in online sex sting operations over the last three years.
All of the cases stemmed from Shawano County sheriff’s detectives posing online as underage girls, and sometimes boys, as part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
They were contacted by the suspects, who exchanged texts and emails of a graphic nature and set up a sexual rendezvous with them. They were arrested when they arrived.
Wildt and Groenewold both responded to an ad placed by sheriff’s detectives on Dec. 9.
Wildt was arrested Dec. 13.
Groenewold exchanged texts and emails with sheriff’s detectives until Dec. 30 when he was taken into custody.
Peak was arrested Wednesday after exchanging texts and emails that began on Dec. 21.
All three believed they were going to be meeting with a 15-year-old girl, according to the criminal complaints. They were taken into custody without incident.
Groenewold and Peak also allegedly sent the supposed 15-year-old graphic photos of their anatomy.
Peak is charged with four felony counts of causing a child to view sexual activity. Groenewold faces three counts.
They could face a maximum six years in prison and a $10,000 fine if found guilty on each of those charges.
A $5,000 signature bond was set for Peak at a court hearing Friday. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 22.
Groenewold is also free on a $5,000 signature bond and is due back in court for an adjourned initial appearance on Feb. 6.
Wildt was ordered held on a $10,000 cash bond. He waived his preliminary hearing and entered a plea of not guilty. No date was set for his next court appearance.