A Former Altoona Superintendent Is Now Facing Child Porn and Sex Trafficking Charges
The Robert Kastenmeier U.S. Courthouse in Madison. (Photo by Julian Emerson)

Producing, possessing, receiving child porn added to Daniel Peggs’ original sex trafficking count.

The former Altoona school district superintendent charged in federal court in February with sex trafficking a minor faces additional charges related to that case.

In an indictment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Madison, federal prosecutors added additional charges against Daniel Peggs, 33, that include two counts of producing child pornography, one count of possessing child pornography, and two counts of receiving child porn. 

Peggs previously was charged on Feb. 12 with sex trafficking a minor and one count of producing child pornography. 

According to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Wisconsin, from October 2015 to May 2016, Peggs recruited a female under age 18 for the purpose of her engaging in a commercial sex act. The indictment states Peggs produced two videos containing sexually explicit material of the girl.

Additionally, the release states that Peggs possessed a computer hard drive that contained child porn images, at least one of which depicted a child younger than 12. Peggs knowingly received child porn images via text messages, the release states. 

Peggs’ trial is scheduled for Oct. 19 in U.S. District Court in Madison before Chief U.S. District Judge James Peterson. 

If convicted, Peggs faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum of a life sentence on the sex trafficking of a minor charge. He faces from 15 to 30 years on each production of child pornography charge; from five to 20 years on each receiving child pornography charge; and a maximum of 20 years on the child pornography possession charge. 

Peggs began working as Altoona schools superintendent in July 2018, replacing former Superintendent Connie Biedron. She was fired by the school board and negotiated a settlement earlier that year following revelations that numerous teachers left the district because of Biedron’s harsh, top-down management style

The situation prompted local media headlines and difficult negotiations seeking Biedron’s ouster. When the school board hired the youthful, energetic Peggs, who had served as principal of Altoona middle and high schools for three years before becoming superintendent, he seemed like the perfect fit to transition the district from a difficult situation to a better one. 

For a time Peggs seemed just that. He frequently sent out Tweets promoting school events, sometimes posing with the school mascot. Altoona schools teachers praised Peggs for his commitment to improving student achievement and for fostering a much-needed boost in morale.

That hope and optimism disappeared after teachers and others learned Peggs had been arrested and faced child pornograpy charges. His arrest shocked school staff and the city of about 8,000 that had embraced him. 

“(Peggs) is the last person you would have thought would be involved with a crime like this,” Robin Elvig, the former school board president who left the board in April, told UpNorthNews in February. “We thought we had found the right person to take us to a better place. And then this happens, and it is so devastating.”

The board hired Ron Walsh to serve as interim superintendent and subsequently named former Chippewa Falls Superintendent Heidi Taylor-Eliopoulos to the position. She began working as Altoona superintendent last week.