News and Press Releases

Former Milwaukee Sheriff's Department Sergeant Pleads Guilty

December 21, 2012

Philip Hugh Wentzel, age 41, a former Sergeant with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, was indicted by a grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of Wisconsin on May 22, 2012. Today, Wenzel pleaded guilty in federal court in Milwaukee to an additional count of production of child pornography, which involved a seventh victim. Wenzel was then sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment, followed by 10 years of supervised release, announced James L. Santelle, United States Attorney of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Wentzel, formerly of West Allis, Wisconsin, from 2009, through approximately April, 2011, knowingly produced child pornography. Each of the seven counts of production of child pornography involved a different minor female victim. Wentzel was involved in a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing program to share images and videos of child pornography which he and others produced.

The sentence imposed by District Judge Lynn Adelman took into account the seven minor victims who were sexually molested by Wentzel, which activity he recorded and distributed to others. Judge Adelman stated Wentzel’s acts were not impulsive or opportunistic. The judge described Wentzel’s behavior as very calculating and premeditated.

According to United States Attorney James L. Santelle, “The 40-year sentence imposed upon this defendant not only responds to the heinous, destructive nature of his conduct but also signals to the community that individuals who abuse and exploit our most vulnerable population–namely, our children–will be penalized severely and removed from our communities.” Santelle continued: “I commend specially the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Milwaukee Police Department–along with our associated law enforcement task forces–for their highly focused, effective, and partnered work with my office in accomplishing justice.”

This case is the result of the investigative efforts led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Milwaukee Cyber Crimes Task Force and the Milwaukee Police Department, High Technology Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Penelope L. Coblentz prosecuted this case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006, by the U.S. Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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



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