7/13/2019 7:30:00 AM Rhinelander man convicted of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime
By River News Staff
A 31-year-old Rhinelander man has been convicted of using a computer to set up a meeting with a person he believed to be 14 years old for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts.
According to online court records, an Oneida County jury convicted Anthony C. Zoncki of the single felony count Wednesday evening following a one-day trial. He was represented by defense attorney Brian Bennett.
Zoncki was arrested Oct. 20, 2017 pursuant to an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) investigation conducted by the Oneida County sheriff's office, Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Vilas County sheriff's office.
According to the criminal complaint, Zoncki used a mobile application called Whisper to communicate with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl named Morgan who was new to the Rhinelander area. The person was actually a male DCI agent.
The complaint states the conversation began with Zoncki inviting "Morgan" to hang out with him and his friends. The agent posing as the underage female then asked if Zoncki could get marijuana and Zoncki replied that he would try.
According to the complaint, the conversation eventually led to Zoncki asking the female if she would try a particular sex act.
The agent posing as the teen and Zoncki set up a time to meet, with Zoncki saying he'd have to stop at a local store to pick up protection and would meet up with her at another business across town, the complaint states.
A surveillance team watching Zoncki followed him to the store and to the rendezvous point. After arriving at the rendezvous point, Zoncki parked and sat in his vehicle for several minutes. At that point, the agent posing as the teen messaged him to report that "she" was inside the business.
He waited for several minutes before he began to exit the parking lot, at which time the surveillance team and deputies in marked squads stopped him and took him into custody, the complaint states.
In an interview with investigators, Zoncki stated that he had been communicating with "Morgan" since the previous day and the conversations had become inappropriate and sexual in nature.
He claimed to have been using the mobile application for only a few days, and that the conversation with "Morgan" was in a private chat.
Zoncki said he first asked if they could get together to play board games, but it appeared she was uninterested in those types of activities. He also claimed to not know who initiated the sexual conversations and said he "could not explain why he engaged in sexual conversations with the female."
Zoncki claimed he had been talking to the female while at work and that he had gone to the first place of business with the intention of buying condoms. He stated he entered the store and asked an employee where the condoms were located but "began thinking about what he was doing and decided it was not appropriate to be meeting with a 14-year-old girl with the intent of having sex with them," and chose not to purchase the condoms.
He told authorities he decided to drive to the rendezvous point but claimed that his intentions changed "from having sexual relations with the female to speaking with her about such activities."
At that point, investigators pointed out that Zoncki drove past his home to go to the rendezvous point, implying that if had actually changed his mind about the meeting he would have just gone home, however Zoncki continued to insist that he had changed his mind about having sex with the person with whom he had been communicating.
According to court records, the state called the DCI special agent and two Oneida County officers. Zoncki did not testify and Bennett did not call any witnesses.
The guilty verdict came after the jury asked for clarification as to the definition of the term "act", according to court records.
Sentencing is set for July 31. He faces up to 40 years in prison.
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