As Facebook pulls away from MySpace in terms of social networking traffic, both networks face increasing challenges trying to monitor and prevent predatory user activity. Such cases were accentuated by the Megan Meier-MySpace suicide case and MySpace's decision to terminate 90,000 registered sex offenders from its service. Another recent incident saw a man kill his wife over a Facebook status change. And the online world only gets stranger.
An 18-year-old male student who resides near Milwaukee, WI is accused of perhaps the most bizarre and disturbing instances of social network sexual predation to date. The male, who attends New Berlin Eisenhower High School in New Berlin, which is about 15 miles west of Milwaukee, is accused of using Facebook to lure 31 of his male classmates into providing him with sexually explicit materials, and then blackmailing many of them into having sex with him.
Anthony Stancl was charged Wednesday on 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.
According to officials, Mr. Stancl posed as a girl named Kayla or Emily on Facebook. He then lured his classmates, most of whom were underage, into sending nude video and photos to him. He was able to then tempt over 31 of his classmates into sending such pornographic materials.
After they sent the files, over half of the male classmates admitted that Mr. Stancl's alter-ego blackmailed them, threatening to release the embarrassing photos or videos if (her) demands were not met. The user threatened to send the photos to the male classmates' friends and post them all over the internet.
Mr. Stancl's alter-ego demanded that the boys meet with (her) "male friend" and exchange sex acts with him. The friend, of course, was Mr. Stancl. According to testimony, seven of the victims admit to performing sex acts on Mr. Stancl or having sex acts performed on them by Mr. Stancl. According to the boys, Mr. Stancl took pictures on his cell phone while engaging in these acts.
When raiding his house, police discovered 300 nude images of juvenile males on his computer. The youngest victim of sex acts was 15; the pictures included victims as young as 13-years-old.
The incidents, which started in spring 2007, finally ended in November of last year. Mr. Stancl was brought in for questioning about a bomb threat written on bathroom walls, which he stands accused of scrawling. The threat closed New Berlin Eisenhower Middle and High School. After his questioning, the victims began to come forward about their disturbing experience with Mr. Stancl and his alter-ego on Facebook.
Stancl's attorney, Craig Kuhary says his client will plead not guilty, but hopes to reach a plea agreement on the charges. He states merely, "It's too early in the case for me to make a statement, other than the fact at some point we are going to go into events that had taken place earlier that might have had some impact on what he did here."
New Berlin Police Lt. Mike Glider believes there may be even more victims. He is urging anyone Mr. Stancl contacted to come forward.
Mr. Stancl's preliminary hearing has been scheduled for February 26. If convicted of all the charges, he could receive a maximum sentence of 300 years behind bars.