April 24th, 2010
12:51 AM ET

Man says Craigslist post offering to sell kids was a joke

New York State Police have arrested a man accused of posting his children for sale on Craigslist.

Joshua Stagnitto told police it was a joke, said Investigator Bryan R. Blum of New York State Police in Rochester. Stagnitto turned himself in when he got transportation to come to the police station, Blum said.

Stagnitto, 24, of Brockport, is charged with one count of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.

Blum told CNN the charge against Stagnitto stems from the fact "that he indicated a baseless allegation of a crime which caused public alarm" and triggered an investigation.

A member of the public called child protective services earlier in April after seeing the post. Authorities began a probe, and had to "make sure that if there are two kids for sale, that they be tracked down and nothing happened to them," Blum said.

When questioned by police, Stagnitto admitted he put the posting on Craigslist, the investigator said.

The two children remain with Stagnitto and their mother, whom Blum described as Stagnitto's "significant other."

Police do not believe the children are in any danger, he said.

If convicted of the misdemeanor charge, Stagnitto could face up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, Blum said.

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soundoff (233 Responses)
  1. Kevin

    Really, all of you up-tight people need to relax.It was a joke.
    I thought it was funny when I read about it.
    If you have no sense of humor, well, you just need to get over it.
    This should never have gone further then someone calling or emailing him pretending to be interested in buying... as soon as he said it was just a joke the case should have been closed- end of story.
    Instead they are wasting taxpayer dollars persecuting a practical joker for exercising his first ammendment rights. (satire and parody are most certainly protected!)

    Drop the charges and move on...dont they have anything better to do? (you know..like catching *real* criminals?)

    April 24, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hawkeye

    Such outrageous behavior! This man should be ashamed.

    That said, anyone interested in buying a piece of Melba Toast that's shaped like the Last Supper? Do I hear $500?

    April 24, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Fed Up

    Then again, nobody would buy him...

    April 24, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Russ F

    Here's the thing. In our legal system, it's not up to the police to determine if he's guilty. He SHOULD have been arrested – like he was – and then it's up to a jury/judge to determine his guilt and the punishment. It's likely he just pays a small fine and does some community service. According to the police, he did break the law.

    Do you think you can yell "I have a bomb" on a plane and then add "just kidding" and you won't get arrested?

    April 24, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. laurie

    The sad truth is that humans and children (including americans kids) are sold into the sex trade. Yes, parents do sell their kids. Of course police take this crap seriously. These are vulnerable children and the world is full of wackos!!

    April 24, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. andy

    pretty stupid i think

    April 24, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DB

    Would have saved me a lot of child support,

    April 24, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. J

    We only know it's a joke after the police investigated...after taxpayer expense.

    If police had not investigated imagine the uproar if it had not been a joke...the children would have been in danger and police rightly blamed for not investigating.

    Put this guy in jail for a month and fine him a thousand dollars as a lesson to the next joker...it will save time and effort in the future for other idiots who do something similar.

    April 24, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. oscar

    Did anybody think to investigate the person that was searching craigs list for "kids for sale" because I don't know about anyone else but when I type in "used tires" thats usually what I find.

    April 24, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. portak

    it may have been a joke, however in a situation like this, anyone has to err on the side of caution. I mean really, if there were just a 1 in a billion chance of it being the real deal, then it has to be checked into.

    April 24, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rationality

    More Italian bashing. This Italian guy should be commended for exposing serious design flaws with CraigsList. Obviously, NO ONE is monitoring this PUBLISHER. So, unless CraigsList is indicted consider this "targeted indictment" more evidence of ethnic-biased obstruction of Justice. Funny, when Italians beg for help from law authorities about FRAUD in OUR courts... no response. So, it's all about "bad Italians." Vote leader, not lawyer to change this nonsense. That's my opinion.

    April 24, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. N

    Seriously? And people wonder why its becoming increasingly hard to take the law seriously. Cases like this just illustrate how little legitimacy is remaining. Yes, dumb and perhaps un-kosher but not criminal.

    @J – I hear you. My family went through a similar experience where a do-gooder reported something ridiculous, then continued to report at every bump, cat scratch etc when the original report was unsubstantiated. These are the true abusers, who clog up the CPS system with junk while real cases fall through the cracks. There needs to be some accountability.

    April 24, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cheapbeersucks

    Is it illegal to put someone else kids up for sale?

    April 24, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Use wisdom

    In law enforcement you run across all kinds. When someone gets caught it is always; not mine, i didn't do it. i don't know what you are talking about, Etc. When we make choices, it produces consequences, whether good or bad. I believe the point that has to be made, is that we have to use wisdom and discernment before we do something that could be construed illegal or just plain stupid. He says he was joking, right? What if it was someone who was really trying to sell their children. At least it was checked into. If we just ignore it, there will be others following suit. If it wasn't looked into and it was true there would be serious re-percussion. It isn't like it used to be. Times have changed.

    April 24, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kam

    This would be funny, were it not for the fact that underage children are sold on Craigslist. Child prostitution is rampant on Craigslist so a man selling his kids could totally be for real (unfortunately).

    April 24, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
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