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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 guilty in St. Croix County Circuit Court to two of the seven counts.
Peter L.O. Gaustad pleaded guilty in St. Croix County Circuit Court May 31 as part of a plea agreement to felony counts of child sexual exploitation and causing a child 13 to 18 years of age to view sexual activity.
Judge Edward Vlack accepted Gaustad’s guilty plea and dismissed but read into the record for sentencing one felony count each of child sexual exploitation, exposing a child to harmful material and using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime and two felony counts of possessing child pornography.
Judge Vlack revoked bond and ordered Gaustad to be held without bail. The judge set a cash bail of $100,000 April 6, 2018.
Gaustad was in custody at the time of of the May 31 plea hearing.
Judge Vlack ordered a Pre-sentence Investigation (PSI), and Gaustad’s attorney, Shirlene Perrin, indicated the defense would be doing their own PSI.
Gaustad was ordered not to have any contact with any minor child, although the court will allow Gaustad to have contact by telephone with his daughter.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled in St. Croix County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. August 8.
Child sexual exploitation is a Class C felony that carries a possible penalty of a fine of up to $100,000 and/or up to 40 years in prison. Causing a child 13 to 18 years of age to view sexual activity is a Class H felony that carries a possible penalty of a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to six years in prison.
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, 2018, 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 nude photographs to her, according to the complaint.
In addition to teaching social studies at Glenwood City High School, Gaustad 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, 2018, election with 81 votes for alderperson.
After his arrest on April 5, 2018, Gaustad resigned from the Glenwood City Common Council.
The Glenwood City Board of Education accepted Gaustad’s resignation from his teaching and coaching positions at the April 23, 2018, meeting.
The Glenwood City school district received a hand-written resignation from Gaustad stamped with the date received of April 19, 2018.
Gaustad’s letter of resignation reads, in part, “For the last 19 years I have called GC home. During this time, I have created very strong and compassionate relationships … with that said I am offering my formal resignation from Glenwood City schools at this time as a teacher and coach …”
Gaustad’s resignation was part of the consent agenda, and voting in favor of the motion were Lisa Kaiser, John Logghe, Lori Klinger, Chuck Draxler and Lisa Logghe. Glenwood City school board member Sally Standaert had not yet been appointed at the April 23, 2018, meeting.