A Polk County man was sentenced to eight years in the state penitentiary at Waupun Thursday. Aug 15, 2019, after pleading guilty to a pair of felony charges in connection with one of a series of “sex stings” in Rice Lake during 2018, Barron County Circuit Court documents said.

Jeffrey J. Masek, 61, of Dresser, will serve consecutive terms of three and five years, respectively, after he pleaded guilty last March to charges of child enticement for sexual contact and attempted second-degree child sex assault in a deal with county prosecutors. In exchange, the court dismissed a charge of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, punishable by up to 40 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.

Masek was forbidden to have any unsupervised contact with females under age 18 and was ordered to register as a sex offender the rest of his life.

Masek was one of more than a dozen people arrested in the “sex stings,” in which a Rice Lake police investigator logged onto various dating websites and registered herself as either an underage male or female.

The complaint charged Masek with responding to an online ad placed March 21, 2018, on a website “that consist(s) mostly of people looking for sexual relationships.” In the ad, the investigator posed as a 15-year-old girl.

Between April 1 and April 28 of last year, some 500 text messages were exchanged between the officer and a person using a cell phone. The officer informed the sender that she was “almost 16” and liked “older” men. The messages became progressively more explicit.

In late April 2018, the sender asked the officer if she would like to meet April 28 in Rice Lake. The officer repeated that she was “only 15 years old” but the sender said “I won’t tell anyone and I hope you don’t.”

A meeting was arranged, and the sender said he would be driving a gold 1999 GMC Sierra. A vehicle matching that description later pulled into the Cedar Mall parking.

Police converged on and arrested the driver, later identified as the Masek. The Rice Lake officer recognized him from photos that had been emailed to her during March.

While he was being taken into custody, Masek allegedly told officers several times, “this is the worst day in my life,” and added that he was deputy in the Hennepin County, Minnesota, Sheriff’s Department.