Hochmuth sentenced to one year in County jail in child porn case

Joel Hochmuth

Joel Hochmuth

WAUKESHA — Joel Hochmuth, a former Lutheran church official who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography, was sentenced to one year in the County jail and 10 years of probation on Monday afternoon, June 4th.

Hochmuth pleaded guilty earlier this year to possession of child pornography. In exchange for the guilty plea, the state dropped two of the three counts against him.

Hochmuth also must not have access to the internet as part of his sentence.

As Judge Kathryn Foster asked if Hochmuth understood the plea, he broke down.

Prosecutors say Hochmuth had pictures and videos of young boys in sex acts. He was fired from his post at the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, where he served as Director of Communications.

Hochmuth was charged after a sting operation by the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Task Force found child porn images and videos on Hochmuth’s personal and work computers, as well as thumb drives.

Hochmuth was arrested at his home in Waukesha.

According to the criminal complaint in the case, an undercover FBI agent used peer-to-peer software which allowed him to connect with Hochmuth’s computer and browse for files, and says Hochmuth was sharing child porn. The agent says he also chatted with Hochmuth online, and Hochmuth allegedly told him he likes pictures of males 10 years of age or older.

The criminal complaint states that during his arrest, Hochmuth stated he has been struggling with an addiction to viewing pornographic photos and videos of young boys in sexually explicit poses, but denies ever creating his own pornography. The complaint also says Hochmuth’s wife caught him looking at the images once, and says they went to counseling as a result.

Officials removed a desktop computer and a laptop computer from Hochmuth’s home, and the criminal complaint states Hochmuth said what would be found on his home computer was nothing compared to what they would find in his office. A search warrant was executed at Hochmuth’s office, and FBI agents found a thumb drive, containing 310 child porn images, and 38 videos. Agents say there were several hundred images found on Hochmuth’s home computer.

Hochmuth’s attorney Paul Bucher argues Hochmuth should avoid prison. He says immediate treatment is the best solution.

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