School district hires temporary replacement, to begin superintendent search following sex trafficking arrest

Daniel Peggs mugshot
Dane County Sheriff's Office

ALTOONA, Wis. — A Wisconsin school district whose superintendent is facing federal child sex trafficking charges has hired a temporary replacement and expects to begin its search for the new leader soon, according to a news release.

In a statement Friday morning, the school district said it held a special school board meeting Thursday night and made the decision to hire Dr. Ronald J. Walsh as interim superintendent through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

The district’s superintendent, 32-year-old Daniel Peggs, was indicted and arrested last week on charges of sex trafficking of a minor and production of child pornography.

In a letter to district families Friday, Walsh said Peggs is no longer receiving school payroll and is only receiving benefits that the district is “required to pay out by law.” He said officials estimate that Peggs will be terminated at the end of March.

Peggs was released Monday under dozens of restrictions while he awaits trial. Some conditions include location monitoring, a 24/7 curfew, and he can’t have contact with any minors, including his own children, unless approved by his probation officer.

The Department of Justice alleges that between October 2015 and May 2016 Peggs “knowingly recruited, enticed, harbored, transported and maintained” a minor, who he knew was under the age of 18 years old and “would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act.”

He is also accused of using the minor to engage in sexual conduct on video and use an iPhone to produce child porn.

At the Thursday night meeting, the Altoona School Board agreed to begin its contingency planning in the wake of Peggs’ arrest. District leaders said the school’s superintendent search firm will begin seeking applicants within the next few days. A decision is expected before the end of April.

The district business manager, Mike Markgren, was acting Altoona superintendent from the day of Peggs arrest until Thursday.

Peggs’ charges are connected to another case out of North Carolina, according to federal court records. On the same day as Peggs’ arrest, 43-year-old Bryan Lee Ragon, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was arrested and charged with sex trafficking of a minor, production of child pornography, transportation of a minor and receipt of child pornography.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the victim involved is the same in both cases.