Ex-WELS Communications Director Pleads Guilty to Possessing Child Pornography
Waukesha man will be sentenced June 4 on felony charge after authorities found images at his home and on thumb drives at his work office in Wauwatosa.
The former communications director for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Joel W. Hochmuth, who was fired from his position upon his arrest on child pornography charges, pleaded guilty Friday morning to one felony count of possessing child pornography.
As a result of the 52-year-old Waukesha man’s plea, two additional counts of possessing child pornography were dismissed. The Waukesha County district attorney’s office will recommend an unspecified amount of prison time when Hochmuth is sentenced at 2 p.m. June 4.
“We have gone over it ad nauseam,” said Paul Bucher, who is Hochmuth’s defense attorney.
“It is my decision,” Hochmuth told Judge Kathryn Foster shortly before pleading guilty to the charge. The case was set for a jury trial next week, which has been canceled as a result of the guilty plea.
Hochmuth was charged in November after detectives from the Waukesha Police Department met with a special agent from the FBI, who told detectives that Hochmuth was using the Internet handle “Skiguy10101” had child pornography on his computer depicting “pre-pubescent and adolescent boys engaged in various sexual acts,” according to a criminal complaint.
Hochmuth told authorities that the number of images found on his computer in Waukesha “was nothing compared to what they would find in his office,” the complaint states. Hochmuth denied downloading pornographic images on his work computer but police located three thumb drives at the WELS office in Wauwatosa, 2929 N Mayfair Rd., that had nine images and videos of young boys engaged in sexual acts, the complaint states. Authorities believe boys shown in the graphic pictures ranged from 10 to 14 years old.
Hochmuth was terminated from his position when the allegations came to light.