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“Didn’t think it was illegal:” 17-year-old charged with possession, distribution of child porn in Brown Co.

BROWN COUNTY — A 17-year-old boy from Denmark, Wisconsin faces 10 counts of possession and distribution of child pornography — and authorities say he admitted to looking at images of girls as young as 10 years old. He’s also accused of trading photos of naked girls on social media apps.

He was in court for the first time on January 5th — charged as an adult.

Cash bond has been set at $5,000 in this case, and Brandon Zittlow cannot use or possess any device that can connect to the internet.

As he sat in court listening to the serious allegations against him, he was visibly shaken and emotional — as were his parents. They said they cannot believe this is happening, and that Zittlow is a “good kid.”

Investigators said Zittlow told them: “I didn’t think it was illegal for me to have possession of it since I thought when you were 18 it was illegal.”

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department was warned in December of suspicious video uploads to a Dropbox account linked to Zittlow’s email. Dropbox is an online file-sharing service.

On January 4th, deputies pulled Zittlow out of class at Denmark High School to question him.

A criminal complaint shows Zittlow admitted to using online messaging apps and Dropbox to trade child porn images and videos.

Zittlow told investigators “he last chatted in November and that the youngest age that he’s seen of child pornography was 10 years old.”

When questioned why he looks at child porn, Zittlow told investigators “he has an obsession with it.”

Zittlow said “he no longer views child pornography because he has a girlfriend and that he feels guilty.”

Investigators say a search of Zittlow’s cell phone found 10 child porn videos. Half of them were of girls under the age of 12.

According to the criminal complaint, Zittlow said he got the photos and videos because he “shared and trades with others that he met on ‘Omegle’ and who he ultimately corresponds with on Kik messenger.”

Omegle and Kik are social media apps that allow users to join groups an anonymously exchange messages, photos and videos.

“(These apps) should be monitored. If there’s a group made, parents should be in the group to monitor what the kids are saying. You should have open access to that mobile device at all times to see things can be deleted very easily,” Lt. Jim Valley with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office said.

Investigators said parents should be looking for anyone they don’t know, and said if you don’t recognize the name of the person your child is communicating with, you should delete them and have a conversation with your child.

Investigators said technology is constantly evolving, and the way kids use apps continues to change. They stressed that it’s important for parents to be involved in their child(ren’s) online activity.

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