Earlier this week, 67-year-old Leo Pelot of Stevens Point was arrested and charged in Lincoln County Court with felony counts of Trafficking of a Child, 2nd Degree Sexual Assault of Child and Child Enticement-Sexual Contact. Pelot appeared in Lincoln County Court on March 22 where a judge ordered him held on $100,000 cash bond.
Pelot’s arrest came as a result of a child sex trafficking investigation recently conducted by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Merrill Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
During a press conference Friday morning, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Ken Schneider indicated Pelot was taken into custody on March 21 following a week-long investigation.
The investigation was prompted when Pelot reportedly responded to an ad placed online by Sheriff’s Office detectives, involving what Pelot understood to be sexual contact with a 15-year old female.
“We have two detectives who recently completed specialized training in investigating online trafficking of children,” Schneider explained. “These are very complex investigations that must be done very carefully. An ad was posted and Mr. Pelot responded almost immediately.”
During online conversations with investigators posing as the girl’s aunt, Pelot reportedly acknowledged on more than occasion, the female’s age. Pelot also repeatedly expressed interest in having sexual contact with the female. Investigators contacted the Stevens Point Police Department to alert them of the ongoing investigation and set up a meeting with Pelot at a motel. During the meeting, Pelot reportedly paid $100 to have sexual contact with the girl and was given a room key with the perception she was waiting inside. When Pelot entered the room, he was immediately taken into custody by investigators and transported to the Lincoln County Jail.
Schneider stated the reason for the press conference was to raise awareness of the very serious matter of child sex trafficking.
“This isn’t just a big city problem, this is happening all over the country and all over the state. We want to get the word out, that if you are involved in this sort of behavior…we will find you and you will be charged.”
Pelot is set to return to Lincoln County Circuit Court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.