James L. Santelle, United States Attorney of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced today that Philip Wentzel (age 41), formerly of West Allis, Wisconsin, and formerly a sergeant with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, pleaded guilty in federal court to six counts of production of child pornography.
According to court documents, from 2009 through approximately April 2011, Wentzel (age 41), knowingly produced child pornography. Each of the six counts involved a different minor female victim. According to court records, Wentzel also used a peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing program to share images and videos of child pornography which he and others had produced.
The court set Wentzel’s sentencing for December 21, 2012. At that time, Wentzel faces a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years’ imprisonment as to each count. Wentzel also faces up to a $250,000 fine per count and a minimum of five years and up to life time of supervised release following his term of imprisonment. According to United States Attorney L. Santelle, “Allegations of criminal activity by those who are sworn to enforce the law are especially troubling as such activities are an affront to the public, the justice system, and the many hard-working and honest men and women who serve in law enforcement.”
This case is the result of an investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Milwaukee Cyber Crimes Task Force, and the Milwaukee Police Department, High Technology Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Penelope L. Coblentz is prosecuting this case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006, by the U.S. Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.