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Anthony Stancl   (Source: AP)
Stancl's sentence was part of a plea deal

One of the most common things for internet users to access are social networking sites. Facebook is the largest social networking site online right now followed by MySpace. Both social networks have had their share of serious trouble caused by users of the networks. In January 2009, a man in England was sentenced to 18 years in prison for killing his wife after she changed her Facebook status to single after a bitter divorce.

MySpace has had problems with sexual offenders frequenting the site as well and kicked 90,000 sex offenders off its site in February of 2009. One of the most disturbing cases involving sexual abuse that stemmed from a social networking site happened on Facebook and involved 18-year-old Anthony Stancl. Stancl was charged in February of 2009 with five counts of child enticement, two counts of third-degree sexual assault, possession of child pornography, repeated sexual assault of the same child, and making a bomb threat.

The charges stem from a devious scheme that Stancl -- a high school student at New Berlin Eisenhower High School in New Berlin, WI -- operated where he posed on Facebook as a female named Kayla (or in some case, Emily). Stancl lured male classmates from his school into sending him nude photos. Stancl then used the photos to blackmail some of the male students into performing sexual acts with him by threatening to release the photos to other students at the school and post them online.

When police raided Stancl's home, they recovered 300 nude images of juvenile males from his computer. According to police, the youngest victim of sex acts with Stancl was 15 and the youngest male in one of the photos was 13. The incidents started in 2007 and the last was in November of 2008. Stancl was caught when he was  linked to a bomb threat during the investigation of the incident.

Stancl was sentenced this week and faced as much as 30 years in prison and 20 years of extended supervision. Judge J. Mac Davis sentenced Stancl to 15 years in prison and another 13 years of extended supervision. Stancl will also have to register as a sex offender. 

Stancl agreed to the prison time as part of a plea agreement that stipulated he plead no contest to the charges and he was convicted on December 22, 2009 on two felony counts of repeated sexual assault of the same child, possession of child pornography, and third-degree sexual assault. Judge Davis imposed the sentence after citing a 2004 case when Stancl was a juvenile where he was found delinquent in the sexual assault of a 3-year old he was babysitting. Davis said, "I am afraid of what he can and might do."

Stancl apologized to the students and families that he victimized in court as well as his own family, including a brother and sister still attending the same high school. Stancl said, "I put you through a terrible situation."

Stancl's defense attorney was seeking five years in prison and ten years of supervision. The defense claimed that the attacks stemmed from Stancl's struggles with homosexuality and being "outed" as gay by an older boy at school. Stancl was taken to prison immediately after the sentence was imposed.

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RE: .
By HotFoot on 2/26/2010 1:41:55 PM , Rating: 2
By all means, I'm not an expert in this case. What's described in the article is a serial rapist committing pre-meditated crimes. These crimes were planned and carried out over a period of time.

The problem I have with saying he did it because he was messed up or had a mental problem is that OF COURSE he's messed up or had some kind of mental problem.

He's somehow less responsible for his actions because of his condition. In this case, pity and compassion mean the punishment should be less harsh. For example, I think it would be a miscarriage of justice to have a mentally disabled person sent into a prison with murderers and others convicted of heinous crimes. That's a recipe for savage abuse of the handicapped person. Still, in this case, the person is a serious threat to society at large. Sentencing is not just about punishment, but about protecting society, so that needs to be considered.

Thing is, I can't imagine a person without a mental problem of some kind sitting in a room and plotting to carry out such actions against people, let alone minors. Someone doing this has got to be messed up to be in the situation in the first place. What is the nature of the condition, and in this case, does it really relate to the person's being able to recognise that what they were doing is wrong and illegal?

I think the pity clause for mentally challenged people is to keep those who are very clearly not capable of making decisions from going into the harshest environments of the justice system. If this person qualifies as such, I would think that would also mean he's equally incapable of managing his own finances, writing his own will, etc. etc.

I think an extreme amount of scrutiny needs to be going into someone getting a relaxed sentence by some claim of reduced responsibility for one's own actions. You can bet that if I found myself defending against some kind of charge like this I'm going to be making every excuse possible, including I was in a mental state of such and such based on stress and situation.

But, at least in my case, that would be a load of crap. I am responsible for my actions, no matter what situation I'm in.

RE: .
By HotFoot on 2/26/2010 1:46:05 PM , Rating: 1
I meant to say "Maybe he's somehow less responsible..." in the 3rd paragraph above.

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