MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – The Milwaukee County sheriff’s sergeant who has been accused of producing child porn resigned effective Monday, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
That immediately stops the internal investigation that the sheriff’s office had initiated last week.
“We did initiate an internal investigation, hence he resigned today,” Capt. Scott Stiff said Monday. “Effective immediately, he’s no longer employed with our agency, so there’s no need to conduct any further (investigation).”
Phil Wentzel, a former spokesman for the office, was accused in a federal complaint Thursday of taking photos of girls between 6 and 14 years old at a campsite in Campbellsport in Fond du Lac County, where he had rented a spot for his recreational vehicle since 2008.
Wentzel, 41, is accused of producing most of the child porn in April 2011, but files were created starting in May 2010, a criminal complaint states. He shared the photos in seven different photo albums through an Internet peer-to-peer file-sharing network.
Wentzel admitted to the FBI that he drugged and molested girls and took pornographic pictures of them, U.S. Attorney James Santelle said in a news release Friday. Wentzel also said he had a difficult time controlling his urges.
The complaint states he had accessed his accounts from several computers, including Milwaukee County computers in August 2011.
Arrested last week
He was arrested May 2 at the Sheriff’s Department and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
It was a search warrant in Denver that led investigators to the images.
According to the criminal complaint, Wentzel agreed to fully cooperate and give investigators the password to an encrypted hard drive they seized from his West Allis home in exchange for a tentative plea agreement and a reduced prison sentence.
Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. said in a statement to media last week that he was “disgusted with the nature of the allegations against the deputy as they were briefed to him.” He had no further comment while the issue is under investigation.
If convicted, Wentzel is facing a minimum of 15 years in jail and a maximum of 30 years and a fine of up to $250,000.