By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — A former Mosinee School District principal who admitted to police he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy will spend nine months in jail and three years on probation after reaching a plea agreement in his case.
Steven Smolek, 60, who now lives in La Crosse, was charged in April 2017 in Marathon County Circuit Court with child enticement, sexual intercourse with a child and two counts of exposing genitals, according to online court records. A plea agreement reached with prosecutors included dropping the child enticement charge and one count of exposing genitals in exchange for guilty pleas on the remaining two charges.
During a plea and sentencing hearing Wednesday, Circuit Judge LaMont Jacobson ordered the jail time and probation as part of a withheld sentence. In the event of probation failure in connection with a withheld sentence, the defendant is returned to court to receive his sentence. The court can sentence the defendant up to the maximum penalty.
In July 2016, 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.