Colfax man pleads guilty to child enticement and possession of child pornography

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  A 35-year-old Colfax man has pleaded guilty to one felony count of child enticement and one felony count of possessing child pornography.

Chad H. Stewart, along with his attorney, Charles Huff, appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court February 27 before Judge James Peterson.

Judge Peterson accepted Stewart’s plea of guilty on both counts.

Stewart initially was charged with seven felony counts of possessing child pornography.

At a February 17 hearing, Judge Peterson extended the deadline for plea negotiations until February 24.

Five of the felony counts of possessing child pornography were dismissed by Judge Peterson based on a motion from Dunn County District Attorney Andrea Nodolf.

A two-day jury trial in the case was previously scheduled for March 8 and March 9.

The child pornography conviction stemmed from pornographic images found on Stewart’s laptop computer. 

According to the criminal complaint, Dunn County investigators were contacted by a Barron County detective in August of 2015. Barron County had received information from the national Center for Missing and Exploited Children of a nude child image that appeared to be a very young female that was uploaded to a website.

The Barron County detective served a subpoena to the IP holder, CenturyLink, and received information back that the IP address from which the child’s image had been uploaded belonged to a Dunn County residence on state Highway 40, Colfax.

Dunn County investigators learned that the IP address was registered to Chad Stewart.

Stewart waived a Pre-sentence Investigation (PSI) at the February 27 plea hearing.

Judge Peterson set bail for Stewart with a $1,000 signature bond in March of 2016.

A sentencing hearing for Stewart is scheduled for June 6 at 3:30 p.m.

Child enticement and possession of child pornography are Class D felonies, and each count carries a possible penalty of up to 25 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.