Gaustad pleads “not guilty” to seven felonies in St. Croix County Circuit Court

By LeAnn R. Ralph

HUDSON — A former Glenwood City High School teacher charged with seven felonies related to sex crimes involving a teenaged girl in Missouri has pleaded not guilty in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

Peter L.O. Gaustad appeared with his attorney, Shirlene Perrin, before Judge Edward Vlack for an arraignment hearing May 14 and entered a plea of not guilty.

Gaustad is charged with two felony counts of child sexual exploitation as well as felony counts of exposing a child to harmful material, causing a child between the ages of 13 and 18 to view sexual activity, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, and two felony counts of possession of child pornography.

Gaustad allegedly exchanged sexually explicit images and messages with a 15-year-old high school sophomore in Missouri.

Judge Vlack set bail with a $100,000 cash bond April 6.

As of the May 14 hearing, Gaustad remained in custody at the St. Croix County Jail.

Gaustad has waived his right to a speedy trial.

He is scheduled for another court hearing in St. Croix County June 21.

According to the criminal complaint, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office in Missouri referred the case to law enforcement officials with the Wisconsin Department of Justice after a detective with the Boone County Missouri Sheriff’s Department received a telephone call from a concerned citizen on March 23 about her 15-year-old daughter, who had been talking with a 45-year-old man from Wisconsin.

The girl told her mother she was in contact with a 45-year-old teacher who lives in Glenwood City, Wisconsin, and she had used Whisper and Snapchat to communicate. The girl also said she had told him she was a sophomore in high school, that she had sent several nude photographs to him, and he had sent nudes to her, according to the complaint.

In addition to teaching social studies at Glenwood City High School, Gaustad has served as the girls’ head softball coach and the junior varsity girls’ basketball coach.

Gaustad was first elected to the Glenwood City Common Council in April of 2016 and was re-elected to a second term in the April 3 election with 81 votes for alderperson.

After his arrest on April 5, Gaustad resigned from the Glenwood City Common Council. 

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