By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — A former Mosinee School District building principal is facing up to 32 years in prison after allegedly admitting to police he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy while living in Mosinee.
Steven Smolek, 59, who now lives in La Crosse, faces charges in Marathon County Circuit Court of child enticement, sexual intercourse with a child and two counts of exposing genitals, according to online court records. He is free on a $10,000 signature bond.
Smolek served as assistant superintendent of schools for the Diocese of La Crosse from Aug. 26, 2015, until his resignation on Nov. 23, two days after he admitted to La Crosse investigators that he molested the teen. Charges were filed April 6.
In July, representatives of the social networking app Skout reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a man had engaged in sexually explicit conversations with a 12-year-old boy through their application, according to the La Crosse Tribune. Police then traced the internet address to the Diocese of La Crosse, and then to a cell phone number belonging to Smolek, reports stated.
But the 12-year-old boy was actually an adult who was posing as a child to snare online predators. That’s when La Crosse police stepped in and confronted Smolek, who admitted to sharing explicit photos online, according to the Tribune report.
He also admitted to meeting with the 16-year-old boy while living in Mosinee, police said.
The alleged victim told investigators he exchanged explicit photos with Smolek after they connected via the Skout app, then met at Smolek’s apartment. That’s when Smolek and the boy allegedly exchanged oral sex, according to the criminal complaint.
Smolek spent more than three decades in education including 19 in the Mosinee School District where he was a principal and director of instructional programs before he was hired as the Mauston School District Superintendent in 2008. The Antigo School District hired Smolek as top administrator in June 2012. He stepped down from his role in Antigo in July 2013.
Ironically, in 2010, while serving as administrator of the Mauston School District, Smolek turned in a middle school principal who accessed thousands of inappropriate websites at work, according to the Tribune report. Prosecutors later charged the principal with possession of child pornography; he is serving 10 years on probation, according to Juneau County Court records.