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. Jenn

    Louie,

    since child trafficking is a horroundous and ongoing problem, then I don't really ever see a time when you can post "children for sale" as a joke.

    P.S. If it's a joke, aren't we supposed to be laughing?

    P.P.S. Sadly, there are those out there who probably would have bought them. Human trafficking is a global problem; maybe this will shed a little light on the topic.

    April 24, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. NHgirl

    The man was joking...People joke about jail being free food/rent does that make them criminals too

    April 24, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    I'd like to see the exact wording of the ad. If it sounds legit, then there may be a case. I suspect, however, it probably even sounds fake. So, until I see it, I reserve my judgement. From the snippets I've see on other sites, it sounds pretty amusing.

    That said, hey, CNN, wouldn't it be better reporting to include actual text from the ad. Seems important to cover the 'why' aspect of the story.

    Just so you know where I'm coming from. I have a sense of humor, and love new creative displays of humor injected into real life.

    April 24, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Liz

    If it's a joke, it's a very cruel and sick joke. I hope he gets a year in prison.

    April 24, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. STEEVE-O

    Sure he meant it as a joke, but who was supposed to laugh?

    The mom? The kids? The pedophiles who comb the Internet?

    April 24, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. Abby123

    I am surprised there are so many people defending this guy or thinks that its okay because it was an April fool joke.

    April 24, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ursasolus

    Yet another example of why my faith and confidence in the criminal justice system is ever eroding. Charging this man for a proven harmless joke, however porrly made it might have been, is just a useless exercise in trying to out do stupidity with even greater stupidity. Stop wasting more of our tax payers' dollars and leave this guy and his family alone.

    April 24, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. shad

    Not very smart or funny.
    I wonder how his children feel about being the butt of this guys joke and now the centre of a media circus.
    This is not a childhood memory I would want to look back on.
    Another case of not thinking things through....I'm sure the father is not laughing now!

    April 24, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. Keith

    Why isn't anyone asking if he posted his real contact information? Obviously, this is the best and only way to determine if it was a joke.

    Contact info = jail.

    No contact info = leave him be.

    April 24, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. b2010

    There are something that you just can't joke about. Like this one, like you can't joke about bombs in an airplane...

    April 24, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    For a mother to carry a child for nine month, than have to raise that little rascal for another few month, adoption maybe one way to find that child a home if the mother so desire it, but if the mother wants to have some money or a return for her time and effort, and expenses to take care of that child, I think she should be able to sell her child, or give it to someone for some monetary exchange.

    April 24, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. shawna

    What all of the people calling this a joke don't get is that people have been caught seriously offering their children on Craigslist for sexual slavery. So the police can't assume it is a joke and have to investigate. This is as bad a joke as someone thinking it's ok to yell bomb in an airport. He deserves to have to pay for the cost to the taxpayers to make sure he wasn't abusing his children if he's foolish enough to post an ad offering to selll his children on a website where people actually have tried to sell their children.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. davebave

    Investigation was completed and no danger was found. So, charge him the investigative fees and move on.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ms. Grey

    It says "A member of the public called child protective services earlier in April after seeing the post." My gosh it was earlier in April, I bet near April 1st. It was an obvious JOKE! Why are they dragging this through! Let him go with a warning,case close. The crime hear is people pushing this case to go forward and spending tax payer money.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. teresa, oh

    And what if this hadnt been a joke and no one investigated? would you all be whining about the crappy cops and why didnt someone DO something.

    we cant have it both ways folks. the law is the law. The man is lucky some very smart computer geek who happened to be a pedophile, didnt track his @ss down via his IP and come-a-looking for some kids whose OWN FATHER cared not about thier safety?

    What he did is so disgusting and disrespectful. This is why some people shouldnt procreate.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
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