A Beloit man who posed as a medical researcher to trick a 17-year-old boy into sexual encounters was sentenced in Rock County Court on Monday.
Justin Germann, 42, of 1723 Juniper St., had earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of child enticement. Charges of causing a child to see or listen to sexual activity and six counts of child enticement/prostitution were dismissed in a plea agreement.
The victim’s mother said her whole family has suffered, and if she had known how traumatic the legal process was to be, she’s not sure she would have let her son come forward.
“This is not the first time that a member of my family has gone through something like this,” she said, without describing what happened to the other family member.
“I have to go the rest of my life with not only one of my children, but two of my children, wondering if what happened to them is going to make them wake up one day and decide that they can’t live with the shame or their perceived guilt of what happened,” the mother said.
The mother said her son suffers from embarrassment and shame, but the defense attorney, prosecutor and judge all agreed the victim should not feel guilty about what happened because it was all Germann’s fault.
Assistant District Attorney Rich Sullivan said the victim should realize he is one of many in society who have become sexual assault victims.
The victim’s father had planned to make a statement, but he said, “I’m sorry, your honor, I can’t trust myself to get up there.”
Judge John Wood sentenced Germann to 10 years of probation, with the first year of that sentence to be spent in the Rock County Jail.
Defense attorney Kelly Mattingly asked that Germann be able to be released from jail for work, but Wood said he would allow Germann to leave the jail only for sex-offender treatment and only after that treatment was finished could he get work-release.
Wood said he doubted Germann could finish the treatment during his year in jail.
The sentence includes sex-offender treatment and placement on the sex-offender registry for the next 25 years.
Sullivan said Germann concocted a “sophisticated scheme” by setting up a Facebook page in which he claimed to be a sex researcher looking for youths aged 16 to 18.
Sullivan noted Germann had no criminal history, has worked all is life and his sexual encounters with the victim were his first sexual experiences.
But Sullivan called Germann’s actions “predatory” acts against a minor who was just discovering his own identity.
Germann gave the boy money in exchange for repeated sexual contacts in a vehicle in the town of Rock during the summer of 2017, according to the criminal complaint.
Sullivan said Germann would face “extremely stringent” rules that sex offenders on probation must follow, and if he fails to comply and his probation is revoked, he faces a potential prison sentence of 15 years plus 10 years of extended supervision.
Defense attorney Kelly Mattingly said Germann has emotional problems related to his social isolation, problems that he could learn to deal with through counseling.
Wood’s called the crime “horrific” and indicated he had thought about imposing a harsher sentence.
But Wood deferred to the attorneys’ joint recommendation, saying the lawyers for either side often know more about a case than he does.