Natalie J. Ticho, 25, of Wausau. Dec. 18, 2020: Child sexual exploitation, possession of child pornography

By Shereen Siewert

A Wausau woman who captured and shared explicit images of a 7-year-old girl on an instant messaging app will spend more than seven years in prison, after a sentencing hearing this week in federal court.

Natalie J. Ticho, 25, was arrested in November following an FBI task force investigation that involved a search of her home in the 2100 block of Meadowbrook Way in Wausau. The sting was part of “Operation Kick Boxer,” an effort that involved multiple agencies statewide including the Wausau Police Department and Marathon County District Attorney’s office.

Prosecutors say Ticho distributed sexually explicit images online and was engaging in conversations about child pornography. But the person she was chatting with was actually an undercover investigator.

The search turned up multiple images, and prosecutors say Ticho used several accounts to distribute the graphic material.

Ticho reached a plea deal in July, pleading guilty to a single count of delivering child pornography.

U.S. District Court Judge William Griesbach, who called Ticho’s actions a “terrible crime,” sentenced the defendant on Tuesday to 90 months in federal prison. After her released, she will spend 10 years on extended supervision and will be required to register as a sex offender.

Operation Kick Boxer relied on more than 63 law enforcement agencies working on FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Forces in each of the Bureau’s 56 field offices and via the FBI’s Legal Attaché Offices throughout the world, according to the FBI field office in Milwaukee. The sweep included undercover operations and led to more than five dozen federal and international criminal investigations. Agents and analysts at FBI Milwaukee worked closely with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to coordinate and de-conflict these operations, officials said.

In all, approximately 65 suspected distributors, manufacturers and hands-on offenders were identified in the sting.