Friday, Peter Robert Stibal, II, pleaded guilty to multiple counts child molestation and possession of child pornography. However, officials at the Dakota County Attorney's Office said the 46-year-old Burnsville man simultaneously insisted he was innocent.
The charges first emerged in 2009, when four boys told police that Stibal sexually assaulted them on numerous occasions while acting as the scoutmaster of Burnsville's Boy Scout Troop #650 from 2002 to 2008. The boys were between ages 11 and 14 at the time the abuse began.
During the course of the investigation, Burnsville authorities also discovered child pornography on Stibal’s home computer.
Stibal stood trial for sex crimes against the first victim in April, who told investigators that Stibal began molesting him in 2003 when he was just 12 or 13 years old. On May 3, a Dakota County Jury convicted Stibal of two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree and two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree.
Rather than facing the jury a second time, Stibal pleaded guilty to the additional charges on Friday. Following Stibal’s plea, Judge Edward Lynch imposed a sentence of 253 months in prison.
“We are pleased to have brought Mr. Stibal to justice in all of these cases. The degree of manipulation and planning used to commit these sexual offenses, coupled with the defendant's violation of a position of trust, warranted the lengthy prison sentence the defendant received today,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a news release. “It is extremely difficult for victims of sexual abuse, particularly victims who were abused as children, to come forward in cases of this nature. I want to commend these young men for their great courage in reporting these crimes and participating in this investigation. Without their courage and participation, it would not have been possible to have obtained these convictions.”
As of Friday, the troop’s parent organization, the North Star Council, had not posted a direct response to the sentence. However, the Council did provide a lengthy analysis of how it is dealing with abuse after an article appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on June 1. Read it here.