He says it was a joke, but the police aren't laughing. That's why a Brockport father is in trouble with the law..
admitted he put up an ad on Craigslist, selling his 1 and 2-year old sons for $200.
But he says he wasn't serious. Meanwhile, someone who saw it called and tipped off child protective services.
"I love my kids more than life," said Stagnitto. "I'm not actually trying to sell them on line. I honest to God thought everyone would read it and think it was funny and that would be the end of it."
This is what Stagnitto thought other people would find funny. It's an ad on Craigslist offering his one and two year old children for sale. It says: "selling my kids on the Craigslist black market."
He adds, "they're good for children slaves or for foot stools. $200 for both or $40 for one."
But Stagnitto says, it was simply a joke.
"And right there clearly at the bottom of the ad it says 'lol, shut up liberals. I'm not serious.'"
Craigslist pulled the ad. Child Protective Services got a tip about the ad and called police. Now, Stagnitto is charged with falsely reporting an incident.
"The fact that I'm being charged for anything is so ridiculous, then the fact that they charged me with falsely reporting an incident. What incident did I report?"
"When he initiates an advertisement that causes an alarm or a public annoyance, that is according to New York State penal against the law,"
says State Trooper Mark O'Donnell. "Similar to someone yelling out fire in a restaurant where there is no fire."
O'Donnell says Stagnitto crossed the line and broke the law.
"We as police officers can not just blow these types of things off," says O'Donnell. "We don't know anything about the person who put the children on Craigslist, we don't know what condition the children were who were put on Craigslist, so we have to conduct an investigation."
As for the children, we're told they're doing fine. They're home with Stagnitto and their mother. But it's been a hard lesson for their dad.
"Now I know the world doesn't have a sense of humor anymore and I shouldn't be doing anything like this again," says Stagnitto.