A 43-year-old Manawa man charged with bringing a 16-year-old girl from the Fox Valley area to Rhinelander for the purpose of conducting sexual acts will head to trial. Michael Johnson is one three people charged in the case. Court document say Johnson, Thomas Franz, 55, of Rhinelander, Carrie Steinmetz, 46, of Rhinelander, and Lloyd Apfel, 53, had sexual encounters with the girl. Investigators say some of the acts were in exchange for money.
A Lieutenant with Oneida County Sheriff's Department says they were investigating a meth and heroin case when they learned about the child trafficking allegations. The criminal complaint says the alleged soliciting began in February.
The teen was reportedly left at Steinmetz's house because she had no place to go. Court documents alleged that in at least one encounter, the teen would have to give half the money she made to Steinmetz.
The alleged victim told an investigator Steinmetz would teach her to be submissive. Court documents say her 'education' consisted of things that were sexual and non-sexual. The alleged victim said if she did not move fast enough she would be punished. In one instance, she was allegedly hit 40-45 times on the butt by Franz with paddle; which she said did cause her pain.
Johnson and Steinmetz are both charged with trafficking a child, child enticement, and sex with child 16 years or older. Steinmetz faces an additional count of soliciting a child for prostitution. Johnson remains in custody on a $10,000 cash bond. Steinmetz's bond was set at $5,000 cash.
Franz is charged with child enticement and sex with a child 16-years or older. Apfel is charged with soliciting a child for prostitution and sex with child 16-years or older.
Authorities say the alleged victim was not related to the suspects.
Johnson is scheduled to enter a plea to his charges on October 10.
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