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Online chats with an undercover cop leads to criminal charge for Rexburg man

Timothy Lee Wendzel | Madison County Jail
REXBURG — A 57-year-old man has been charged after allegedly having sexual conversations about children online with an undercover cop.
Timothy Lee Wendzel is charged with felony attempted lewd conduct with a minor child under sixteen, according to an amended criminal complaint. He originally had a charge for felony enticement of a minor over the internet.
In an affidavit of probable cause, a detective was part of an undercover sting operation last October. The detective received a message from a 57-year-old on social media. The man, later identified as Wendzel, told the detective he lived in Rexburg and that his name was Tim.
Wendzel told the detective he was married and wanted to know what the detective was into. The detective asked Wendzel how young someone needs to be to date him and he said, “Age doesn’t matter to me,” documents said.
Over the next few months, Wendzel constantly asked the detective if they could party together. He also said the youngest person he has ever been with was 19 years old.
In December, Wendzel said, “I would enjoy being with some really young girls…”
The detective asked, “How young is too young?” Wendzel responded, “Eight or lower.”
In more conversations, Wendzel says to the detective, “Wish you could set up, you and me and a young friend.”
The detective told Wendzel he only had an 11-year-old stepdaughter and girlfriend. In a later chat, Wendzel said all the sexual things he would like to do to the detective’s stepdaughter.
Wendzel then sent a picture of his face to the detective, who was able to use online tools to identify the man.
Last month, Wendzel allegedly asked what kind of sexual things the stepdaughter was into.
“I told Tim that I had a friend that works at a local motel in Idaho Falls who could get a room when I needed it. I asked Tim what his intentions were. Tim told me the things he wanted to do with my stepdaughter, which were sexual in nature,” the detective wrote in documents.
In February, Wendzel said he was hesitant and nervous about the stepdaughter because she’s a minor.
He said, “I’ll be ok as long as you play with (your stepdaughter) first,” the documents said.
On Feb. 10, Wendzel talked about getting together with the detective, possibly at a hotel in Idaho Falls.
On Feb. 15, investigators from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Falls Police Department, and Homeland Security assisted the Idaho Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force with the operation at the hotel. However, Wendzel did not show up at the hotel as promised and sent a text saying he wasn’t going to make it.
Due to conversations that had already occurred, it was determined that probable cause existed for an arrest, documents said.
Wendzel was contacted by the Rexburg Police Department and interviewed on Feb. 15.
The detectives asked him about the portion of the chat where he was asked how “young is too young” for him and he responded, “Eight or lower.” Wendzel said that it was a typo and it should have said 18.
He admitted to the sexual conversations he had with the detective about the 11-year-old girl but said he never intended to meet with them. Wendzel said he mentioned those things because chatting online with people was just a hobby of his, documents said.
When Wendzel was asked about the sexual comments he texted regarding the 11-year-old, he said he didn’t mean the stepdaughter but that he was referring to the detective’s girlfriend. Wendzel also said that “texting messes up sometimes.”
Wendzel said he doesn’t usually talk about doing sexual things with minors but it was just this one time. He was asked why he said those sexual things about the 11-year-old girl. He admitted that talking like that is “just BS.”
Later, he admitted that he did type those messages about the 11-year-old girl and the sexual acts towards her before finally admitting that he made a mistake.
“I’m so grateful for the work that our talented ICAC team does to protect the most vulnerable in Idaho. My Office will continue to put every available resource into finding and prosecuting the criminals who victimize Idaho’s children,” Attorney General Labrador said in a news release about the incident.
Wendzel was served an arrest warrant and had a video arraignment on Thursday where bond was set at $100,000.
Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty. Wendzel is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 1 at 1:30 p.m. at the Madison County courthouse.
Anyone with information regarding the exploitation of children is encouraged to contact local law enforcement, the Attorney General’s ICAC Unit at (208) 947-8700, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.
The post Online chats with an undercover cop leads to criminal charge for Rexburg man appeared first on East Idaho News.

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