Wisconsin man pleads to kidnapping and sexual assault of two young men

By Calvin Palmer

A Wisconsin man faces up to 130 years in prison after pleading no contest today to the kidnapping and sexual assault of two young men whom he held captive in chains at his home.

Edward Lanphear, 47, of Wisconsin Rapids, was convicted of four felonies in the abductions of a 23-year-old man and a 22-year-old man last summer.

The paper mill worker and divorced father is due to be sentenced on July 22.

The prosecution wanted to avoid a trial and spare the victims having to testify. Neither victim was present when Lanphear entered his plea.

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 asking 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. The man said that when he was talking to a sheriff’s deputy at the neighbor’s home, Lanphear returned.

The 23-year-old testified that Lanphear offered him a ride as he sat on a curb July 4. The man 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.

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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