UPDATE: Friday, June 8, 2012
The attorney for a former Garden Plain football coach accused of trying to solicit a 15-year-old girl for sex has filed a motion to dismiss all charges.
Todd Puetz is one of seven men arrested last October in an internet sting. Attorney Dan Monnat says the charges against Puetz should be dropped because his client was entrapped by police.
Prosecutors say Puetz had a phone conversations with an adult detective posing as a 15-year-old girl. In the motion filed on Thursday, Monnat claimed Puetz responded to the online advertisement with no intention of having sex with an underage girl. He says Puetz knew the detective was and adult and had no intentions of having sex with her if, upon meeting, he found her to be underage.
The motion states the detective originally said she was an adult but later changed her story and claimed to be 15 years old. He says his client and Puetz exchanged several phone calls, some of which were initiated by the detective, before the two agreed on a price and a time to meet. Puetz says after his arrest, he told police that if he found the woman to be underage he intended to give her money and go home.
Monnat has released the following statement regarding the motion:
"I can confirm that, on Todd Puetz's behalf, we have filed a motion to dismiss all charges. The basis of the motion is that the evidence at the preliminary hearing was one, insufficient to establish that Todd Puetz solicited anyone, and two, insufficient to establish Todd Puetz believed the 40-year-old detective to be 15 years old, and, at best, the evidence showed the 40-year-old detective solicited and entrapped Mr. Puetz."
Puetz has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His trial is set to begin Aug. 6.
UPDATE: Thursday, May 17, 2012
A Sedgwick County judge has found that there is enough evidence to send an online sex case against a former football coach to trial.
Todd Puetz, former Garden Plain football coach, is accused of trying to solicit a 15-year-old girl after responding to an online ad. He was one of seven men arrested during an Internet sting last October.
Prosecutors said he had phone conversations with a girl posing to be 15. Detectives testified Puetz drove to a home at least twice to meet with girls he had been in contact with. He reportedly left the first time after noticing a patrol car outside the home.
Witnesses also testified Puetz continued to question whether the girls were involved with law enforcement officers. He was arrested after meeting the girl, who again said she was 15-years-old.
Dan Monnat, defense attorney, argued Puetz was coerced and entrapped. He said Puetz maintained that the "girl" was the one who kept bringing up sex during the phone conversations. Monnat claimed Puetz didn't solicit sex, but rather the officer solicited his client.
The defense also argued that Puetz originally responded to the backpage ad that listed the girl as 18, which would have been legal.
Puetz said he went to the house only to give the girl some money and then leave.
A trial date has not yet been set.
UPDATE: Thursday, May 17, 2012
A Wichita Police detective has testified a former Garden Plain football coach accused of online solicitation with a teenager, answered an ad on the internet.
Todd Puetz is accused of trying to solicit a 15-year-old girl over the Internet. He was one of seven men arrested during a sting last October. A preliminary hearing in Sedgwick County District Court will decide if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial.
Jennifer Wright testified she was posing as the teenage girl during a conversation with Puetz. She said he repeatedly asked if the girl was a cop or associated with law enforcement.
Puetz drove to a home to meet with the girl, but passed when he saw a patrol car outside, Wright said. He ended a phone call and said, “I’ll just pass.”
Another detective then contacted Puetz acting as another 15-year-old girl. Wright said he again questioned police activity. During a preliminary hearing, prosecutors played a phone call between Puetz and detectives.
During the call, Puetz asked, “How much for an hour?” A detective responded, "One-hundred-and-twenty dollars. What do you want?" Puetz said "Anything I can get."
Another phone call between Puetz and the detective indicated a special. The detective told Puetz he could have two girls for $100 an hour. He said “That sounds too good to be true.”
During a fourth phone conversation Puetz said that he was on his way to meet with the girls.
Wright said Puetz arrived at the sting house, asked how old the girl was. She said she was 15. Officers arrested Puetz a short time later.
His attorney, Dan Monnat, claims Puetz was coerced and entrapped. Monnat said his client never expressed desire to be with a 15-year-old girl.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
A preliminary hearing is underway in Sedgwick County District Court for a former Garden Plain coach charged in a sex-related case.
Prosecutors say Todd Puetz, who taught physical education, tried to
entice a child he believed was a 15-year-old girl. He was one of seven men arrested in late October who police say used electronic media to try to meet underage girls for sex.
His attorney, Dan Monnat, is claiming the police entrapped Puetz during the sting by originating the talk and repeatedly trying to coerce him. State statute says a person is not guilty of a crime if authorities attempt to induce or solicit the crime.
Monnat also filed a motion to quash the subpoenas of the police officers who conducted the sting. The defense also asked how the Wichita Police Department trained officers on how to avoid entrapment during online sex stings.
KAKE's Jared Cerullo is in the courtroom for Thursday's hearing. He will have more on later KAKE Newscasts. Follow him on twitter @KAKEJared for updates.