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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Wisconsin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Green Bay Man Sentenced For Threatening and Obscene Telephone Calls to Daycare Centers

United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on July 8, 2019, Michael J. Propst (age: 46) of Green Bay, Wisconsin was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison by Chief District Judge William C. Griesbach.

Propst was convicted of two counts of “Threatening Interstate Communications,” in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 875(c), and a single count of “Making Obscene or Harassing Telephone Calls,” in violation of Title 47, United States Code, Section 223(a)(1)(C).  The charges stemmed from telephone calls made by Propst to two different daycare facilities in the State of Indiana.  Propst phoned the daycare facilities and claimed that he had one of their pupils in his custody and was at that time violently raping the child causing the toddler to bleed and suffer internal injuries.  The panicked daycare workers were forced to quickly perform a head-count of the children while they contacted authorities.

The Green Bay Office of the F.B.I. became involved and discovered that a federal investigation into Propst’s actions was underway in the State of Delaware.  The investigation revealed that authorities linked Propst to similar obscene and threatening telephone calls in fifteen states stretching from Maine to California.  Propst’s job as a long-haul trucker made it practically impossible for local authorities to investigate his obscene and threatening phone calls given that he and his telephone were constantly moving through different legal jurisdictions.

At the sentencing hearing, the government demonstrated an almost 20 year pattern of Propst engaging in telephone calls to daycare centers, schools, and retail establishments depicting the violent rape of young children.  Records reflect that Propst was convicted by local authorities in the State of Florida in 1999 for making virtually identical obscene and threatening telephone calls while living in Polk County, Florida.  In 2002, he was convicted by federal authorities in the Middle District of Florida and sentenced to 41 months of imprisonment.  It appeared the calls only ceased while Propst was incarcerated.  The evidence showed and Propst admitted that these calls were made for the purpose of his own sexual gratification.  

In handing down the sentence, Chief Judge Griesbach noted the defendant’s pattern of criminal activity was very serious and far more than merely harassing in nature.  Rather, the judge characterized Propst’s telephone calls as akin to “terrorism,” since they were intended to cause terror in the victims answering his calls.  He cited Propst’s “poor character” and “less than credible statements of remorse” as justifying a substantial prison sentence of 84 months. 

The judge’s sentence was more than two and a half times longer than is called for in the federal sentencing guidelines.  Following his imprisonment, Propst will serve 36 months on federal supervised release.   

This case was investigated by the F.B.I.’s Resident Agencies in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Wilmington, Delaware, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, the Green Bay Police Department, and the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel R. Humble.

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Updated July 10, 2019