By Michael King • Post-Crescent staff writer • October 11, 2010
APPLETON — Four men, including three from the Fox Cities, have been arrested in a sting organized by Appleton police in conjunction with the Internet watchdog group Perverted Justice on charges of using a computer to facilitate sex with a child.
"Three local guys and a traveler from Racine make up the four," said Detective Sgt. Mike Nofzinger, the sensitive crimes investigator for the Appleton Police Department. "Two of the guys pulled right into the driveway (of the decoy bust house). One guy walked up to the house with a box of condoms.
The suspects taken into custody since Thursday night and booked into the Outagamie County Jail on felony charges of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime are:
Ryan J. Gidlof, 22, Neenah.
Wyn A. Adkins, 27, Menasha.
Neil A. Frank, 25, Kimberly.
Michael L. Krezinski, 26, Racine.
The four are expected to make their initial court appearances this afternoon in Outagamie County Court. The charges are Class C felonies punishable by up to 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine, or both.
Nofzinger said he has worked with Perverted Justice on individual cases since 2004, including three in which defendants went to prison. About eight months ago, the nonprofit organization asked if Appleton was interested in participating in a full-scale sting and police agreed.
Since Labor Day, volunteer "contributors" for Perverted Justice have created profiles in chat rooms posing as Appleton girls ranging in age from 12 to 15. As the decoy contributors conducted hundreds of online chats, Perverted Justice compiled and forwarded paperwork on 72 individuals it thought likely to travel to Appleton in an attempt to have sex with an underage girl.
Actually showing up at the home police used for the sting — a rental on Appleton's south side — demonstrates that suspects had the intent to commit a sex crime against a child, Nofzinger said.
Using information gleaned from the chats, authorities identified suspects from "Madison, Fitchburg, Colby, Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Appleton, Menasha, just all over the place," Nofzinger said.
Explaining how police avoid entrapment issues, Nofzinger said the Perverted Justice volunteers have been trained and are "good about not encouraging, not soliciting, allowing these people to show their own colors and what they're all about.
"We want people who are predisposed to want to meet a child and have sex with them," Nofzinger said. "We don't want to do anything to further their cause. We want only the people that are predisposed. And (Perverted Justice is) good at that."
When the topic turns to sex, decoys respond naively, typing responses such as "LOL, laugh out loud," said Nofzinger, who was disappointed "only four guys have showed up" out of the 72 potential cases.
"It may be attributable to what Perverted Justice has done and the media that is out there," Nofzinger said. "Over time more and more of these people who have a sexual attraction to kids have become aware of this type of operation."
Denise Moss, the law enforcement liaison for Perverted Justice who lives in the state of Washington, said she has volunteered with the organization for about six years. She works with police agencies like Appleton's on "full-scale stings" along with other Perverted Justice programs.
"It absolutely is (rewarding) because we get the pedophiles off the street," Moss said. "I don't get paid, I just work a whole lot of hours."
Nofzinger said the results of sting efforts show "that these people are out there by the thousands. They're not showing up (at similar stings) like they used to but they still exist and they're still a danger to the kids in chat rooms."
Michael King: 920-729-6622, ext. 33, or email@example.com
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