Port Washington - For what a prosecutor called "cooperative sexual assault," two recent Homestead High School graduates were sentenced Thursday to 30 days of jail and two years of probation for having sex with a 14-year-old girl inside the school last year.
Deangelo Dantzler and Brent Anderson, both 19, pleaded no contest in September to physical abuse of a child as part of plea bargains that amended the original charges of sexual assault of a child.
Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams ordered Dantzler and Anderson to each perform 200 hours of community service during the term of their probation, and allowed them to serve the jail time starting Dec. 21, when they will be on break from college, Anderson at UW-Parkside and Dantzler at Milwaukee Area Technical College.
She declined requests to let the men use work-release time for anything but counseling.
"This is pure punishment," Williams said.
District Attorney Adam Gerol told Williams the crimes appeared to be "acts of convenience" for the defendants, who were both football players and good students at Homestead.
He said the notoriety that the case generated might provide a good opportunity to deter other teens tempted to take advantage of younger girls, who may seem like peers physically but are far less emotionally sophisticated than 18-year-old seniors.
Gerol acknowledged that teens today are besieged by a sex-charged culture but that the law has drawn a bright line that says people under age 16 cannot consent to any sexual activity.
Gerol said the crime and its aftermath have caused extensive damage in the victim's life. Her attorney, Verona Swanigan, told the court the girl tried to transfer to other area schools but eventually moved to Colorado to live with a relative.
"She feels the system, the school and these boys have treated her like garbage," Swanigan said. "She feels like a throwaway victim."
The girl had been abandoned by her mother, was not a good student or athlete like the defendants and struggled with issues even before the Nov. 3 incident.
"She feels no one cares because of who she is," Swanigan said. "She just wants the court to know she matters."
Williams said it was no surprise how the victim feels, and told Dantzler, who was a family friend of the victim before the incident, "There isn't a thing you can do for her. I hope you think that through."
According to the complaint, the girl met the defendants after school in an unrestricted area around the field house and music wing. Anderson offered her alcohol. She had sexual contact in an unlocked band storage room with him and Dantzler, left the room and then returned later for more sex with Dantzler.
School officials and Homestead's police liaison investigated and determined the victim was a willing participant and imposed unspecified "school-level and legal consequences," but at a Nov. 30 meeting learned the girl was then stating she did not willingly participate. Her father talked to television stations, and soon thereafter criminal charges were filed.
Anderson and Dantzler remained free on bail, finished their senior years and graduated in June.
Dressed in suits, Anderson and Dantzler apologized to the victim, their families, friends, churches and their communities.
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