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2,100 images: Firefighter charged with possession, distribution of child porn pleads not guilty in federal court

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MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee firefighter charged with possession and distribution of child pornography entered not guilty pleas in federal court on Tuesday, March 21st. The accused is 44-year-old Robert Rutley.

Robert Rutley

Rutley was taken into custody without incident on February 17th after a traffic stop in Big Horn County, Montana. This, after a federal search warrant was executed at Milwaukee Fire Department Engine House 29 near 84th and Morgan on Milwaukee's southwest side on February 10th.

In federal court Tuesday, the prosecutor referred to 2,100 images that will be used as part of this case.

According to the criminal complaint, when a search warrant was executed at the fire house on February 10th, Rutley was found lying in a recliner, watching TV with a phone in his hand and a tablet within arm's reach. Rutley was taken to the West Allis Police Department to be interviewed.

The complaint says Rutley told investigators "he had been interested in child pornography since 2000 or 2001" and he admitted to using peer-to-peer software programs to access child porn. He said he was currently using uTorrent, and estimated he had "at least 1,000 child pornography files" on his tablet. He told investigators he preferred "girls ages 10 or older."

Robert Rutley

He couldn't explain to investigators why he was interested in child porn, but admitted to "actively looking for it, downloading files, reviewing the content, deleting what he didn't like and placing the files he liked into a folder." He said he often felt "guilty" and said he deleted his collection "several times" over the years, the complaint says.

Rutley told investigators he was caught by his wife for possessing images of children, and as a result of that, he began downloading child porn at work, instead of at home, the complaint says.

Rutley's tablet was reviewed on February 12th, and the complaint says "thousands" of child porn files were located on it.

Milwaukee Fire Department Engine House 29 near 84th and Morgan

On Tuesday, Rutley's trial date was set for Monday, May 22nd. The U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case believes the trial will last two to three days. Also, the defense did not contest the detention of Rutley.

If convicted, Rutley faces a maximum 40 years in prison.