Former Butler County high school teacher accused in online sex sting

UPDATE @ 6:15 p.m. (July 4): Kevin Gowsell, the teacher accused in an online sex sting in Wisconsin, resigned from the Edgewood school district July 1, according to a statement from district officials.

Gowsell was employed at Edgewood High School for one academic year, 2016-17. 

He gave no reason for his resignation, according to the district, and there were no disciplinary issues during his employment.

INITIAL REPORT (July 3)

A Butler County high school science teacher is free on bond, accused of felony charges stemming from an online underage sex sting in Eau Claire, Wisc.

Kevin Andrew Gowsell, 28, of Middletown, is accused of attempting to meet a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl. He told authorities the incident occurred while he was returning to Ohio from a trip to Canada, according to the criminal complaint from the Eau Claire County Sheriff's Office and the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

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Gowsell, listed on the Edgewood High School (Trenton) website as a science teacher, posted an ad on Craigslist seeking to share a hot tub in Black River Falls, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported in a story published on its website June 30.

Leadertelegram.com reported that an Eau Claire County sheriff's detective said he noticed the ad, and posing as the 14-yeard-old, exchanged text messages with Gowsell for several hours before setting up a meeting at a Kwik Trip in Eau Claire.

A special agent with the Wisconsin Department of Justice arrested Gowsell on June 30 when he arrived at the store. Condoms, as well as the cell phone believed to have been used to exchange the messages, were reportedly found in Gowsell's SUV, according to the newspaper.

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The Leader-Telegram reports that a record of the text messages reveals Gowsell attempted to invite the teenager to dinner, with Gowsell later writing, "Depending on how we feel maybe I'll teach out some things about physical intimacy."

Gowsell was released Friday night (June 30) on a signature bond, an Eau Claire County Jail officer said late Monday afternoon.

According to Wisconsin court documents online, Gowsell is charged with using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, attempted child enticement, and attempted sexual assault on a child under 16 years of age.

Monday night, we tried to reach Gowsell by phone and left a request for him to comment. He has yet to respond as of the publication of this report.

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