The son of the Hennepin County sheriff is facing four felony charges related to possessing child pornography and soliciting a child for sex.
According to the criminal complaint, a "young adult" woman had been having sexual text message correspondence with a man calling himself "Nick" since March 7. Her father approached the Sibley County Sheriff's Office on March 29, saying that the man, who authorities would later identify as 24-year-old Ryan James Stanek, asked his daughter to locate minor girls for a sexual encounter.
According to the complaint, Stanek also demanded nude pictures of minors, and had the woman set up a social media profile that listed her age as 17 to communicate with juveniles. The complaint states that Stanek instructed her to seek out 16- to 17-year-old girls for the purpose of sex, and then asked her to find a girl who was 8 to 12 years old.
Stanek allegedly then asked the woman whether she had any neighbors or cousins of that age, and according to the complaint, she sent him a non-sexual picture of her 13-year-old cousin. He then said he wanted to have a sexual encounter with the two of them, the complaint states.
The Sibley County Sheriff's Office called in the BCA, and BCA Special Agent Ben Rittmiller took over communication with Stanek at this point.
Posing as both the young adult woman and the 13-year-old cousin, Rittmiller agreed to a meeting for the three of them to have sexual contact. The complaint describes several messages of a sexual nature that Stanek sent to Rittmiller, believing him to be a juvenile girl.
When, posing as the juvenile, Rittmiller asked Stanek if it was OK that she was 13, the complaint says that Stanek replied, "I'm ok with your age (:."
When Stanek arrived at the site of the meeting on May 19, he was arrested without incident.
In an interview with the BCA at the Blue Earth County Justice Center, authorities say that after Stanek was read his Miranda Warning, he admitted that he had planned to have a sexual encounter with the 13-year-old and that he was aware of her age.
After Stanek's arrest, authorities say they found images consistent with child pornography on his phone, including sexual images of a female who is approximately 3 years old.
Stanek is charged with soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct; soliciting a child or someone believed to be a child through electronic communication; engaging in electronic communication describing sexual conduct with a child; and possessing child pornography. All four charges are felonies, and carry maximum sentences of 3-5 years each.
Stanek is scheduled to appear in court on June 22.
Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek issued a statement Wednesday night, saying that the cell phone involved in the case is held in the name of the Stanek Volunteer Committee. He said he pays the bills for his family members' phones on the account with his personal funds.
Sheriff Stanek went on to say:
"Ryan is an adult and is accountable for his own actions. As parents, we will continue to assist him to do what we can to help guide him. Like all parents, we love our son and are providing him the support that we hope will help him deal with the challenges in his life."
Ryan Stanek's criminal record indicates there are plenty of challenges in his life. In January he was pulled over and charged with DWI after being clocked doing 95 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone. In March of 2015 Ryan Stanek pled guilty to DWI and was sentenced to probation. In May of 2016 Stanek was ticketed for careless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia after he crashed his pickup into a Brooklyn Center fire truck. Investigators found marijuana pipes in his vehicle.
His record also contains an extensive number of criminal charges and convictions ranging from drug possession and speeding to driving after revocation.