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GC man to be arraigned on child pornography charges

By LeAnn R. Ralph

HUDSON  —  A 64-year-old Glenwood City man charged with possessing child pornography and using a computer to commit a child sex crime is scheduled to be arraigned in St. Croix County Circuit Court in August.

Joseph R. Brabeck, along with his attorney, Michael Cohen, appeared in St. Croix County Circuit Court July 6 before Judge Michael Waterman for a preliminary hearing.

Brabeck is charged with three felony counts of possessing child pornography and one felony count of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.

Brabeck waived the preliminary hearing, and Judge Waterman bound Brabeck over for trial and scheduled an arraignment hearing on August 10.

During a preliminary hearing, witnesses and investigators give testimony which a judge uses to determine whether a crime has been committed and whether the defendant probably committed it. If the judge finds probable cause, then the judge bind the defendant over for trial, and the defendant is scheduled for an arraignment on those charges.

If the defendant waives the preliminary hearing, the judge uses the information in the criminal complaint to establish probable cause.

In addition to the charges in St. Croix County, Brabeck is charged in Chippewa County with one felony count of the second-degree sexual assault of a child and and one felony count of child enticement.

Bail was set for Brabeck in Chippewa County last October with a $10,000 signature bond.

Judge Waterman set bail in St. Croix County at $25,000 cash March 8 but amended the bail to $5,000 cash on March 9.

According to news reports, Brabeck was arrested last fall in a park in Chippewa Falls following an online sex sting.

Brabeck allegedly arranged for a nude photo shoot and sex acts with an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old girl.

After Brabeck was arrested, authorities confiscated his home computer, and news reports indicate that child pornography was discovered on the hard drive.

As a condition of bail, Judge Waterman ordered Brabeck to have absolutely no contact whatsoever with the complaining witness or with any female under the age of 18 years old, except for incidental contact in public. No contact includes no contact in person, by telephone, by way of electronic device, email, facsimile, social media, including but not limited to texting, Facebook, Twitter as well as no contact through the mail and/or through a third person.

Brabeck also is not allowed to use computers without prior permission from the court, including no use of Smart phones or other devices with Internet capabilities.

Chippewa County Judge Steven Cray also ordered Brabeck to have no contact with juvenile females as well, along with no computer use without permission of the court and no use of Smart phones or cell phones with Internet capabilities.

A review hearing for the Brabeck case is scheduled July 26 in Chippewa County Circuit Court.