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. Chris

    Why is everyone assuming this is a joke? Are you guys dense, there are a lot of bad people out there.

    There's a big difference between casually joking that you're going to sell your children, and actually proposing a contractual offer to sell your child in a formal marketplace.

    There are a lot of sick people out there. Learn to tell the difference.

    There is no such thing as being uptight, it's called having standards and principles. Something people worthy of pride live by. Pride > humor any day of the week.

    April 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Fed Up

    Is it illegal to put the President for sale on Craigslist?

    April 24, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Steve

    Bully candy? Why? That seems paranoid. And, yes, I have three very well adjusted kids myself, my wife is a social worker who works solely with multiple public school systems, and for the life of us we can't figure why something so obviously in jest could be misconstrued by a few or how it could be used as bully fodder. More likely a source of laughter between the kids, their friends, and the father. It has nothing to do with dirty laundry...my guess, the guy adores his kids. Seriously, folks, lighten up. The only consequences were going to be the hour or two of detective time thanks to an overblown response from an individual in the public that appears to have nary a clue. Bill the guy the few bucks for the time and move on, for goodness sake.

    April 24, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. romflo

    Posting your children for sale is no laughing matter. Children are not material possessions like a car or a piece of furniture. How would he feel if someone posted him for sale?

    April 24, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jamesbrummel

    I understand this time it was a joke, but i have heard real cases of people selling children
    and I am confident there are people dumb enough to do it on Craigslist. I mean EBAY had to ban sale of human organs–for real. Could you believe that?

    April 24, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ann

    Some things you just don't make jokes about. He needs to grow up.

    April 24, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shirley

    This is not the nice 1950's. The father put the kids at risk he needs 15 years of parenting classes and probation....

    April 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Butterbuns

    Ah, an April Fool's joke gone awry.

    April 24, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mary

    I am more than a little shocked by the responses. You all would be screaming if this were actually not a joke, everyone assumed it was, and the children were sold or harmed. What did you expect law enforcement (the people out tax dollars are paying to keep us all safe) to do-ignore it? Obviously they had to investigate and act accordingly. The guy is young and an idiot and deserves whatever punishment he gets.

    April 24, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chris

    Not to mention they are inept, abusive parents. How would you like it if your parents threatened to sell you over the internet before you knew enough that they couldn't "legally" do that. It would freak you out.

    Why torture children and make them afraid for their lives that they might be sold on the internet. This is a form of psychological child abuse. Who needs bullies, when you have abusive parents, "right?".

    And no, I'm not kidding. This father needs to get his mind right. I say, "book him," to the fullest extent of the law. Let him think long and hard about what he's done. People in this country are going down a dark, twisted path, and it's time for a correction.

    The question is, for you morally inverted members of society... Do you take more pride in your abusive sense of humor than in being a man or dignity and principles?
    Dignity and principles > humor.

    It's funny, I can honestly say, I've never met a good Christian in this country, because too many of them use this unethical form of abusive humor. I laugh and smirk when someone tells me they are Christian... because I remember what they said or did last week.

    And then the posters here defend it as humor too. LOL, seriously! Humor is supposed to lift spirits, not to be used as threats against children... "if you don't clean your room, I'm going to sell you on the internet." What a bunch of moral degenerates you guys are. None of you posters are worthy of calling himself of Christian if you support this kind of behavior.


    April 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Vern

    "How much for the little girl?" – Jake Blues

    April 24, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ernesto Bozzletalk

    Kids being sold. that's the worst thing kids have going these days? man, when i was a kid they'd call us gypsys, tramps, and thieves. We'd hear it from the people of the town. They'd call us gypsys, tramps, and thieves. But every night all the men would come around
    And lay their money down

    April 24, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kev

    Oh lord, settle down people. It was a joke.

    "Hey, wanna buy my brat kids?"

    A common joke at that.


    April 24, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Edwin

    Child Protection Services had to investigate, because slavery and child porn DO happen. But I am convinced it was a joke. Should he have to pay? I would vote no - it was simply a misunderstanding - but his Craig's List privileges should maybe be revoked...

    April 24, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Terri

    Oh, brother. I read two discussion boards that are populated mostly by parents talking about their kids. BOTH of them have posts right now advertising their rambunctious/annoying kids for sale. Do you think I should turn both of these moms into the police?

    April 24, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
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