Wis. man pleads to kidnappings, sexual assaults
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. — A Wisconsin man pleaded no contest Monday to charges he kidnapped and sexually assaulted two young men who were held captive in chains at his home.
Wood County Circuit Judge Gregory Potter accepted a plea deal that convicted Edward Lanphear of rural Wisconsin Rapids on four felonies in the abductions of a 23-year-old man and a 22-year-old man in Wisconsin Rapids last summer.
Lanphear, 47, a longtime paper mill worker and divorced father, faces up to 130 years in prison. Potter set sentencing for July 22.
In pleading no contest, a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes there is enough evidence for a jury or judge to convict him. Lanphear’s attorney, Gary Kryshak, declined to comment after the hearing.
District Attorney Todd Wolf said prosecutors wanted to avoid a trial that would likely include the victims testifying about graphic sexual details. Neither victim was in the courtroom when Lanphear entered his plea.
The Associated Press doesn’t routinely identify the victims of sexual assault.
Wolf said he met several times with Kryshak and the victims before reaching the deal.
“We thought this was the best way to proceed at this point,” the prosecutor said. “It gives each side what they were looking for.”
During a preliminary hearing, the victims testified that, after nights of drinking, they were abducted by Lanphear — one on July 4 and the other on July 8 — handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to his home where they were bound in chains and sexually assaulted.
The 22-year-old said he escaped July 8 after he asked Lanphear for a cigarette and Lanphear left to buy some. The man said he used his chained feet to pull a ladder toward him, climbed it and freed the chain that had him tied to the ceiling in a garage.
He ran naked, chains dangling from his wrists and ankles, to a neighbor, he testified. The man said that when he was talking to a sheriff’s deputy at the neighbor’s home, Lanphear returned.
“There he is. Go get him,” the man said he told the deputy.
The 23-year-old testified that Lanphear offered him a ride as he sat on a curb July 4. The man said he thought Lanphear was driving him to his parents’ home but Lanphear said he was a police officer and handcuffed him.
The man said he was hit on the back of the head with a flashlight, driven to Lanphear’s home and kept in chains as Lanphear sexually assaulted him three or four times over four days.
At one point, the man testified that Lanphear told him that a string was attached to a gun and the man’s chains, and that if he tried to escape “I wouldn’t like the consequences.” He said he interpreted that to mean he would be shot.