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Hebbe sentenced Friday for making sexually explicit messages to a 12-year-old, More charges possible

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William Hebbe in court
William Hebbe in court with his attorney
William Hebbe in court

WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -  A Wausau man will spend time in prison for sending sexually-explicit text messages to an underaged girl. 32-year-old William Hebbe appeared Friday before Judge Michael Moran, who sentenced Hebbe to three years in prison followed by seven years on extended supervision.

The judge said the Facebook messages, quote, “shocks the public, shocks this court, and should shock you.” There were over 14-hundred pages of transcripts of the electronic messages to a 12-year-old girl. Moran said Hebbe crossed the line when he tried to make contact with the girl. The girl’s mother contacted police. She knew Hebbe but didn’t immediately suspect anything.

Judge Moran gave him less actual jail time than the state recommends and far less than prosecutors were asking for, but much more extended supervision... and Moran said that supervision will be strict.  "You need some time to really think about that, and to think about what you've done, and how you've offended not only this juvenile but this community.  You need some time to think about that and maybe you'll get a little better insight.  I also want, after you're released, that you have a short leash on you.  A very, very short leash."

Prosecutor Theresa Wetzsteon was seeking ten years in prison followed by ten more years of supervised release. She was disappointed in the shorter sentence and disappointed with the findings of the presentence investigation which did not take the Facebook transcripts into consideration.  "Other people in society without these issues are appalled, like the judge said, by this kind of activity.  He wouldn't look back at these chats and be shocked.  This is his work, and I think the state's recommendation was appropriate.”

Wetzsteon says sexual predators using computers is dangerous, because they can harm you or your children at home without opening a door or breaking a window.  "You want to protect your children from everything.  It used to be that you just say, hey, avoid the stranger on the corner. Now, it's in your school and you don't know if they're going to be safe, and now in their own bedroom, you don't know if they're going to be safe, or on the cellphone if they'll be safe.  It makes you feel so helpless as a community to protect the most vulnerable people we have.”

This may not be the end of William Hebbe’s problems. Investigators are continuing to investigate possible sex crimes that may have occurred with other underaged children, both by computer and by physical contact. He could face additional charges when that investigation is complete.

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