Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Deputy Charged With Production of Child Pornography
United States Attorney James L. Santelle announced that a criminal complaint had been issued charging Philip H. Wentzel (age: 41) of West Allis, Wisconsin, with production of child pornography. If convicted, Wentzel would face a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
According to the criminal complaint, Wentzel is a Milwaukee County Sheriff Deputy. The criminal complaint alleges that in approximately April 2011, Wentzel knowingly produced child pornography. According to the complaint, Wentzel was involved in a peer-to-peer file sharing program known to be utilized by individuals who trade child pornography. The complaint alleges Wentzel’s profile page stated he was looking for original images of child pornography involving girls. It is further alleged that Wentzel made videos of child pornography involving prepubescent girls who appear to be sleeping and or drugged when the child pornography images were taken.
Wentzel was arrested on May 2, 2012, at the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department. He made his initial appearance in federal court on Thursday afternoon, May 3, 2012. Wentzel was ordered detained pending trial. Wentzel will next appear in federal court on Wednesday, May 9, 2012, for a preliminary hearing.
According to United States Attorney James L. Santelle, “Our continuing, aggressive identification of people who victimize and prey upon the most vulnerable - our children - has resulted in this important prosecution of an individual who has been producing child pornography for at least two years. That some of those images depict minors being sexually assaulted aggravates the criminal conduct - and underscores the connection between abusive physical conduct and the on-line sharing and distribution of child pornography.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Teresa L. Carlson stated, “The FBI works diligently to bring those who prey on the children of our community to justice. It is particularly disturbing when a crime like this is committed by a member of the law enforcement community. We urge anyone who may have information related to this case or knowledge of other victims to contact the FBI at (414) 276-4684.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Milwaukee Cyber Crimes Task Force. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Penelope L. Coblentz.
This case is prosecuted as a component of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov
A criminal complaint is the formal method of charging an individual and does not constitute inference of his or her guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until such time, if ever, that the government establishes his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
# # # # #