The son of Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek has admitted to seeking sex from a minor, using a cellphone connected to his father’s re-election campaign.
Ryan J. Stanek, 25, agreed Monday in Blue Earth County District Court to plead guilty to felony solicitation of a child for sex. Stanek was arrested on May 19 at the River Hills Mall in Mankato, where authorities said he believed he had arranged to meet a young woman and her 13-year-old friend for sex. Instead, he was arrested by Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) agents.
BCA agents reported finding images on Stanek’s cellphone “consistent with child pornography” involving girls as young as 3.
In exchange for pleading guilty to the one charge, three other felony counts have been dismissed. Sentencing is scheduled for May 30. In the meantime, the court has ordered that he have no contact with minors and stay away from any sexually explicit material.
The sheriff said it was a money-saving move to have the phone connected with his campaign. A sheriff’s spokesman said that for years Stanek has made two monthly payments for the service — one on behalf of his family, the other on behalf of his campaign.
Since turning 18, Ryan Stanek has been cited for inattentive driving, speeding, driving on a suspended license, loud music and drug possession.
He also was sentenced to a year of probation in 2015 after pleading guilty to drunken driving. He was charged in 2014 with damaging a tree and a horse trail while four-wheeling at Lake Rebecca Park Reserve near Delano.
According to the latest complaint, Ryan Stanek answered questions from BCA agents without a lawyer present. After his arrest, he was booked and released from jail.