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Man gets probation in child porn case

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Darryl Enriquez
July 29, 2011
— A former Williams Bay man avoided jail Thursday by convincing a county judge he mistakenly downloaded and kept child pornography on his computer.

Ronald F. Oehm, 45, was sentenced to five years of probation after he pleaded guilty to felony possession of child pornography. The sentence requires that Oehm be placed on the sex offender registry.


State Division of Criminal Investigations agents and Williams Bay police raided Oehm’s home March 25, 2010, and reported finding a dozen images of child pornography on the computer’s hard drive, according to the criminal complaint.


State investigators traced the use of an Internet file-sharing computer site known to contain adult and child porn to Oehm’s computer in fall 2009.


Oehm told Walworth County Judge Robert Kennedy he had downloaded pictures of sexy women from the site to use on advertising material for a gentleman’s club in Milwaukee.


Oehm denied he had any interest in child porn, and evidence showed he seldom viewed the child porn images.


Walworth County District Attorney Phillip Koss recommended Oehm be placed on probation and not be sent to prison. Koss argued that Oehm be sentenced to up to a year in the Walworth County Jail.


Donna Cooper, Oehm’s lawyer, explained that the offensive images were mixed within large batch of pictures Oehm downloaded at no cost for his business use.


Oehm made a mistake by opening the images and not deleting them, she said.


Kennedy asked Cooper: “Didn’t your client know that child porn was wrong?”


Cooper responded: “He did but he didn’t. He possessed it. He wasn’t sitting there studying child porn.


“He only wants to have sexual relations with his wife. He’s not attracted to children,” she said


Kennedy said he was conflicted by the case. At the start of the hearing, Kennedy was ready to sentence Oehm to jail for a year.


“His explanation rings as (being) plausible,” Kennedy said. “A lesser sentence is in the best interest of the community, and he’s not a danger to the public.”


Evidence showed that Oehm last viewed the images Nov. 23, 2009, and never looked at them again. He was arrested at his home on March 25, 2010.


Evidence suggested he never revisited them (the images), Kennedy said.


“It would make him less culpable,” Kennedy said.


Oehm, now a car salesman in Janesville, explained to Kennedy how the child porn was blended in with the other pictures. He realizes now that he should have deleted them immediately.


“I didn’t know the scope of what I’d be facing now,” Oehm said.


His young wife and child were in the courtroom.


Serving a jail term would financially devastate his family, Oehm said.


“I’m just not convinced that he’s somebody who is interested in child pornography,” Kennedy said. “He’s someone who made a terrible mistake.


“He used such bad judgment that maybe he is fooling the court,” Kennedy said. “I was going to put him in jail because, at first, I did not buy his story.


“I’d be bothered with myself if I didn’t have the courage to not send him to jail.”



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