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. Andy

    How to dodge 18 years of responsibility for only $1,000. Genius!

    April 24, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mother of four

    Good grief. Though I certainly would never have carried the joke so far as to advertise it, when our boys were little and we were both worn to a frazzle, we would occasionally threaten to sell them to the gypsies. My husband claimed to have their eight hundred number and became such a common joke that the boys would make the same playful threats to one another (even using their toy phones to call the gypsies). It served to lighten the mood and everyone involved knew it was silliness.

    What he did was foolish and was a poorly thought out joke at best, but he certainly doesn't deserve jail time or a fine.

    April 24, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. zunedog

    well a thirteen year old girl got suspended for a terrorist threat,because she gave the teacher a gun finger,maybe they need too legalize pot in all states, these people need too calm down.

    April 24, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kendo24

    Go find real criminals, you lazy N.Y. police officers.

    April 24, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sonj

    Craigslist has everything!!!!!!

    April 24, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CraigC

    Next thing you know Chciken Little will be burned and the author arrested because, well it is a story. After that, the boy who cried wolf...

    April 24, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    One person jokes about selling kids... perhaps another jokes about making a bomb and blowing something up. Another person jokes about putting out a hit on someone. Seems like he just be charged with something just so that police don't end up having to investigate all the people who think it is funny to post a joke about a crime being committed. Still, a year in jail is ridiculous if there was no intent. I say a $500 for wasting everyone's time seems appropriate.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve Lyons

    Asking if the police have anything better to do? Heck his was a low risk arrest for the officers, I bet they called dibs. Why arrest a gang banger when you can go snag this guy.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. linda

    Ok, but here is the point. After the fact, we all know it's a joke, but the police HAVE to investigate when they get a call, like this...as someone pointed out, not to long a go a woman sold her child, and about two weeks a go a 12 year old sold her 7 year old to be gang raped. Would everyone's suggestion be that the police ASSUME these things are jokes? So, now that we know they have an obligation to investigate, we now know that it is a waste of OUR tax dollars when someone plays a joke like this...by the way, these "jokes" were all over craig's list this year...and continue to cost us tons of tax dollars. So, the question is, if we don't start fining people at least a little for their STUPID judgment, then we will continue, as a society to pay for these dumb jokes. No, the judge will never give him jail time...it's like when you see those littering signs that say "you face a maximum penalty of $1,000 or a year in jail." Realistically, that is for people who offend like 100 times. But, should the police take some action, probably. Think about it.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nancy M. B.

    What parent hasn't wished to do this at one time or another!!!???

    April 24, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cog

    Charge the guy for a telephone call. That is all of the investigation that should have had to take place. Does no one in this country have aby common sense anymore?

    April 24, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bindo

    The joke is the reaction to the joke..Whether it was funny or not, it seems we are heading toward living in a society where any and all actions not in accord with strict guidelines will be punishable by jail and or fine.

    Time to re read history folks..Or maybe look for a place to live in New Zealand....Sheesh

    April 24, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Janice

    There are too many pedifiles out there for any father to write such an ad, even in jest. It just invites trouble into your life. If you all need a good laugh go watch "What's Up Doc" With Ryan O'Neal. That's something worth laughing at. This guy is a jerk with not enough to do. Let him serve time or pay a fine so he can reflect on his life and attitudes. How about being a father worth emulataing and remembering on Father's day. I'm glad he wasn't my father. My dad was too busy providing a good life forr us and putting us through college and serving in our church and went about doing good. This guy has a problem and that is a "attitude problem". He needs to refocus and point his nose in a more constructive direction. He is not very mature. Society in general needs cleansing from immorality and doing unthinkable things. Like aI said go watch "What's Up Doc".

    April 24, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. David

    @ john LOL!! GREAT COMMENT! I Agree! He could have sold them much quicker on ebay.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. C. Durham

    I think the law he is charged with breaking is a more interesting story. Sounds to me like "indicated a baseless allegation of a crime which caused public alarm" infringes upon New Yorker's First Amendment rights.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
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