A man from Deer Park was arrested in a child sex sting by Rice Lake police officers on Saturday, March 16.
Thirty-five-year-old Joshua A. Studer was charged in Barron County Circuit Court with felonies use a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, attempt sexual assault of a child under 16 years of age, child enticement and misdemeanor possession of THC.
According to the criminal complaint filed on Monday, March 18, a Rice Lake police officer, working undercover, responded to a personal ad on an online website, posing as a younger girl.
Via email, the officer sent two photos of herself when she was younger and began a conversation with the man who placed the ad, identified as Studer. In emails, he allegedly talked about smoking and then having sex with the girl.
Later, via text messages, the officer said she was 15 years old, and Studer allegedly asked if she would be able to sneak away without her parents’ suspicion.
When asked if the girl being underage would scare him off, Studer allegedly replied via text that he was nervous, but was willing to risk it being a sting.
The officer arranged to have Studer meet the “girl” in a vacant parking lot in Rice Lake. Shortly after 9:30 p.m. on March 16, the man arrived at the parking lot and was taken into custody by officers.
In Studer’s van, police allegedly found condoms, a bottle of lubricant, back rope, a ball gag, a mattress and a metal tin containing 16.25 grams of a substance that tested positive for THC.
In an interview with police, Studer allegedly told officers that he knew what he did was wrong and knew that he would be going to jail, but did not want to do anything to make it worse.
Studer appeared in court on March 18 and held over on a $5,000 cash bond. If convicted on all charges, Studer faces a maximum sentence of up to 85.5 years in prison, $251,000 in fines and five years’ suspended license.