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Wisconsin superintendent arrested on federal sex trafficking, child porn charges

Updated: February 24, 2020 02:40 PM

A Wisconsin school superintendent was arrested Thursday morning on federal sex trafficking and child pornography charges.

Altoona School District Superintendent Daniel Peggs, 32, was charged in an indictment by a federal grand jury on Feb. 12 and taken into custody Thursday.

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The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Wisconsin on Thursday said the conduct Peggs is charged with doesn't involve a student from the school district.

The indictment alleges from October 2015 through May 2016, Peggs recruited, enticed, harbored, transported and maintained a girl under 18 years of age while knowing she'd be caused to engage in a commercial sex act.

It also alleges that in December 2015, Peggs used the minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct to produce a video of child pornography using his cellphone.

If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison on the sex trafficking charge. The production of child pornography charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years in prison.

The Altoona School District sent a letter to parents saying an investigation is underway but reiterating that they're unaware of any Altoona students being involved. The district also said it's working with the school board to determine their next steps.

"Student safety, as always, is our number one priority. We'll continue to work with Chief Bakken and local law enforcement to be sure that students are safe," the letter to parents said.

The Superintendent of Gilman, Wisconsin, where Peggs previously worked, noted that Peggs was employed by their school district at the time listed in the indictment.

Gilman Superintendent Walter Leipart told KSTP Peggs was "well-liked and left on good terms. There was never any indication something like this was taking place."

Gilman Schools also sent a letter to parents about Peggs' indictment. In that letter, Leipart says they don't believe the indictment involves any adults or minors from Gilman.

"The School District of Gilman takes student and staff safety, security, and well-being very seriously. At this time we have not been contacted by law enforcement and because this is a police matter, we are unable to comment further," Leipart's statement says.

ABC affiliate WQOW reports Peggs appeared in court Thursday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to both the sex trafficking and production of child porn charges.

Peggs is scheduled to appear in court again on Monday and remains in custody at this time.

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