Florence County man arraigned on 5 felony charges for sexually assaulting 2 minors, including family member

WARNING: Material could be graphic to some viewers
James Dagostino, of Florence, faces 125 years in prison for sexually assaulting two minors, one of which was a family member.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 3:55 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 4:25 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, Wis. (WLUC) - James Dagostino, of Florence, faces 125 years in prison for sexually assaulting two minors, one of which was a teenage family member.

Dagostino appeared in Florence County court for the first time Tuesday. He is charged with five felonies, including two counts of Sexual Assault of a Child Under 16, two counts of Child Enticement, and one count of Incest.

The following content from the criminal complaint could be graphic to some readers.

According to the complaint, between 1998 and 1999, Dagostino is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old blood relative. The complaint says Dagostino told her she was sleepwalking and needed to take pills to prevent it.

“I took them because it was my [family member],” the complaint reads.

It continues, saying the victim became extremely drowsy and would not be able to move. The complaint then alleges that Dagostino would take off the victim’s pajama pants and would touch her. The complaint alleges this happened about 10 times and says between 1998 and 2004, Dagostino would also briefly penetrate her when she was 15 and 16 years old. Finally, she alleges she was forced to have intercourse five times between the ages of 17 and 21.

The criminal complaint alleges the abuse continued until Christmas Eve of 2005, when the victim confronted Dagostino. The victim said Dagostino did not touch her again, and she never returned home.

The victim came forward to the Florence County Sheriff’s Office in March 2023.

The second part of the criminal complaint alleges Dagostino began assaulting a 4th-grade girl in 2019.

During the interview, the victim said when her family first moved to Florence, they would stay in the Dagostino household.

The victim told Florence County Deputies that Dagostino would touch her consistently for a month straight. The victim said she would try and move his hand away, telling him to stop. The complaint alleges that Dagostino told the 4th grader that he thought she liked it. The victim said the assault took place in Dagostino’s bedroom. The complaint says Dagostino and his wife sleep in separate bedrooms. The victim also stated that Dagostino told her that he thought she was his wife.

The complaint alleges that on March 16, 2023, the victim’s parents went to a concert in lower Michigan and left their children to stay at the Dagostino house with James and his wife. The victim alleges that during the weekend, she gave Dagostino a back rub and then he gave her one when she fell asleep.

The next morning, the complaint alleges that the victim’s sister found Dagostino in bed with the victim, sleeping in a twin-sized bed. Then, the victim told her sister what had happened. Eventually, the victim told her parents about Dagostino sleeping in the same bed as her.

Text message screenshots submitted to the Sheriff’s Office confirm that Dagostino’s wife was aware that her husband slept in the same bed as the victim.

Dagostino’s bond was originally $100,000 cash. However, the judge amended the bond to only $15,000 cash, but included provisions of house arrest and electronic monitoring.

Dagostino objected to the original bond terms, saying he is the primary caregiver to his elderly mother. Included in the bond terms, Dagostino is prohibited to have access to the internet. He is also not allowed to have contact with any minors, with the exception of the two grandchildren that live with him.

His next court date is July 25 at 10:30 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.