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Marathon County Sheriff’s Department arrested a man believed to be an online predator

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW)– Forty-year-old Joseph Wagner drove from his home in Tomahawk to Wausau under the assumption he was meeting a 15-year-old girl at her house for sex. When he arrived at the address he was given, he was met by deputies from the Marathon County Sheriff’s department.

The 15-year-old Wagner had been talking to was actually a deputy posing as the girl.

Wagner had been using Facebook and Facebook Messenger to chat to the undercover deputy for about three weeks.

A criminal complaint was filed on Monday. Wagner has been charged with use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, multiple counts of exposing a child to harmful material, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He pleaded not Guilty.

Wagner is being held in the Marathon County Jail on $5,000 cash bond. He is due back in court on Friday, Nov. 2.

Social media has made it easier for sexual predators to find targets. Many of the apps predators use, could be on your phone, or your child’s.

Experts say the best thing you can do is talk to your child about internet safety.

“The more open your dialogue is, the easier it’s going to be,” Happy Mac owner Brain Jojade said. “You’re not going be able to use technology to prevent them from doing everything.”

Jojade also said to avoid accepting friend requests from anyone you don’t know or wouldn’t talk to in real life.

If you or your child notice anything suspicious online, let law enforcement know immediately.


Sarah McGrew

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