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Child porn charges likely to be dropped

December 12, 2012
The Daily News

By NIKKI YOUNK

Staff Writer

FLORENCE, Wis. - A plea and sentencing hearing was adjourned and bond was reduced on Tuesday for a Florence man accused of possessing child pornography, a stolen lighthouse lens, and firearms.

Florence County Court Judge Leon D. Stenz ordered that the scheduled plea and sentencing hearing for 65-year-old Rodney Conn be put on hold after there was some question about the paperwork required for Wisconsin's victim notification law.

A new plea and sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 15.

Before the Tuesday hearing was adjourned, however, special prosecutor Jay Olivares and defense attorney Michael Scholke discussed details of the proposed plea deal.

Conn faces four felony counts of possession of child pornography, four felony counts of felon in possession of a firearm, one felony count of concealing stolen property, one felony count of possession of explosives for an unlawful purpose, one misdemeanor count of witness intimidation, one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana, and one misdemeanor count of violation of a restraining order.

Under the proposed plea deal, Conn would plead no contest to one of the felon in possession of a firearm charges. Two other felon in possession of a firearm charges would be put under deferred judgment.

Olivares would then agree to dismiss all other charges and recommend that Conn's sentence include nine months of jail time and three years of probation.

According to Olivares, a forensic analysis of Conn's computer found nothing that could support the child pornography charges.

"There's insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," he told the court.

Scholke argued that since the child pornography charges are likely to be dropped, his client's bond should be significantly reduced.

Judge Stenz agreed and ordered that Conn's bond be reduced from $10,000 cash to $3,000 cash.

The charges against Conn stem from a May 24 incident, in which deputies from the Florence County Sheriff's Department searched his home.

Deputies were acting on a tip that Conn was in possession of firearms. Since Conn is a convicted felon, he cannot legally own firearms.

The search turned up four firearms, exploding ammunition, images of potential child pornography on a laptop computer, and a lighthouse lens that was allegedly stolen from the Huron Island Lighthouse in Lake Superior sometime in the early 1970s.

Nikki Younk's e-mail address is nyounk@ironmountaindailynews.com.

 
 

 

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