Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

UPDATE: Case against teacher facing child porn charges moves forwardSubmitted: 03/26/2014

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com

WAUSAU - UPDATE: March 26,2014 - 8:25 p.m.

The case of a Wausau teacher and coach accused of keeping child pornography will move forward.

Michael Switalski, 50, faces eight charges of keeping child pornography.

That includes nearly 100 pictures and a dozen DVDs.

He's on leave as a teacher and boys soccer coach at Newman Catholic High School in Wausau.

Switalski waived his preliminary hearing in court Wednesday.

He will be back in court later this month.

Switalski could spend at least 24 years in prison if convicted on all of his charges.

----------------------------------

A Wausau area teacher faces eight charges for possessing child pornography, after police used a warrant to search his house on Friday.

Michael M. Switalski,50 , made his initial appearance in Marathon County court Monday. He is a teacher and boys soccer coach at Newman Catholic High School in Wausau, and has lived in the city for more than 20 years.

According to the criminal complaint, special agents of the Department of Justice, as well as officers from the Wausau Police Department, used a search warrant at Switalski's home at 926 Parcher St. in Wausau.



Police found USB storage devices, a hard drive from a laptop, more than a dozen DVDs and documents. Police say The thumb-drive had 95 images of nude males, many of whom appear to be under the age of 18.

None of the pictures or DVD's have any connection to students at Newman Catholic.

Police say the DVDs were connected to a Toronto based film company that had been busted for producing and shipping nude films of minors to customers worldwide. Azov Films was raided by police in May of 2011.

Based on business records, Azov Films had been shipping videos to customers in the U.S. through USPS Priority Mail.

Many of the DVD's in Switalski's home appeared to be produced by Azov Films. Boys in the videos ranged in age of approximately 10 to 16 years old, according to the criminal complaint.

The severity of the content seized was one of the reasons Judge Jill Falstad did not lower Switalski's bond, or allow a signature bond. Switalski will need to post $75,000 to post bond.

Switalski had been teaching at Newman Catholic high school, as well as coaching the schools boys soccer team.

Theresa Wetzsteon, Marathon County deputy district attorney, says Switalski has contributed to the community in his time at the school. She believes many people will come to Switalski's defense.

"I just want the public understand that this isn't something we take lightly," Wetzsteon said."We understand that he is a very important member of this community, but these charges are very serious and it is very important that the public have accurate information and that they stay informed."

Newman Catholic Schools released a statement Monday afternoon saying they were "shocked and saddened by the recent arrest of Michael Switalski for suspected possession of child pornography."

Following protocol, the school has placed Switalski on administrative leave.

"He will remain on administrative leave pending the completion of the investigations by both the Department of Justice and NCS," according to the press release.

Each charge of child pornography carries a 25-year maximum prison sentence. Each count also carries a minimum three-year prison sentence for each charge, meaning Switalski faces at least 24 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Police are still investigating and could bring more charges forward.

Switalski for his preliminary hearing on March 26th.



Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - Highway workers do a dangerous job, working alongside traffic with very little protection.  A new state law could make those jobs a little safer.

A hand-held cellphone ban for work zones starts statewide Saturday.  Drivers cannot make or answer phone calls while in work zones unless they use Bluetooth or some sort of earpiece.

Vilas County Highway Commissioner Nick Scholtes calls the law change a great thing for the state.

"The ones that are on their phones, they seem a little oblivious to what we are doing there at the time," Scholtes said.  "They're going through the motions coming through the work zone but it's actually very scary at the same time because if they needed to stop quickly don't know if they could."

+ Read More

Play Video

FLORENCE - In Florence County, more people work in forestry-related jobs than in any other industry.

"It's unbelievable, the way I put it," said logger Jaden Streu. "There are a lot, a lot of jobs and a lot of people that are retiring."

Streu graduated from Florence High School this spring and immediately went to work for his family's business, CTL Timber Harvesting.

Streu was among the presenters at Wednesday's Log-A-Load educational day at Florence.

"I think the big thing is, this industry is changing, from some of the equipment [the students] saw that was working here today. It's highly technical equipment," Florence District Administrator Ben Niehaus said.

"My favorite station was the sawmill," said Florence fourth grader Hannah Holdaway. "I didn't know that they cut it with a machine. I thought they just cut it with a saw."

"I think they leave here with a whole different perspective of, 'Wow, this isn't just a chainsaw and something that looks like a bulldozer that picks wood up and decks it on a log truck. There's a lot more to it,'" Niehaus said.

People like Streu would like to leave a positive impression of the forestry industry on students.

"We hope that they leave [saying], 'This ain't bad. This is a good thing,'" he said.

Hopefully, as Streu sees it, some of these learners will someday become his coworkers in the forest.

"We need the younger generation to come in, like me, to take it over and keep it going," Streu said. "It's a family business and I can have kids, hopefully, and be able to show them and bring them up in it and keep it going generations after generations."

Students from both Florence and Wabeno came to the Log-A-Load day.

+ Read More

LINCOLN COUNTY - In the Northwoods, plenty of families sell organic eggs from their small farms. But a new chicken farm near Gleason takes production to a different level.

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - After a year of revisions, Northland Pines High School will start a new policy in December, drug testing some of its students. 

The school board voted and approved the new policy earlier this week.

For District Administrator Mike Richie, this is a way to stay proactive, helping both parents and students to avoid drug addiction.

"If there is a problem how we can prevent that problem, how can we get students to realize that this problem can only get worse as they get older and continue into the work force," said Richie.

 "I think we're going above and beyond, and I think that we need to help and assist parents this is a problem that exists all over, it's not just a Northern Wisconsin problem." 

To Richie this is a collaborative effort. 

Students will only be put into the pool to be randomly tested if they and their parents both opt into the policy and sign the permission form.

 Forms for parents and students to opt into the policy will be sent out within the next couple of weeks. 

+ Read More

STATEWIDE - City, county, and town leaders hope you Turn Out for Transportation Thursday night.  Seventy-one of the state's 72 counties will hold public forums for people to learn more about the state's transportation budget.

The idea for the forums comes from the "Just Fix It" campaign, which many counties have supported to encourage state lawmakers to find a better way to pay for roadwork.

You can find the location and time for your county's meeting via the link below.

+ Read More

Play Video

BOULDER JUNCTION - Downtown Boulder Junction could look a little different in a few years. The Boulder Junction Town Board voted 2 to 1 to move onto the design phase of a town plaza project Tuesday night.

The design will cost about $25,000. Town Supervisor Dennis Duke said the plaza could have things like bathrooms, wifi, and places to sit.

Duke thinks the plaza would get people to spend more time downtown.

+ Read More

Play Video

NORTHWOODS - The high-dosage flu shot for people 65 and older is stronger than the regular one, but holding off for a couple weeks could help keep you flu free for even longer.

The CDC says all ages should get the flu shot as soon as possible, and many pharmacy chains have started pushing shots in the late summer.
But some health professionals think waiting a couple weeks might pay off.

"Why they advertise it so early doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It takes two weeks for it to kick in, and flu season lasts six months. So if you do get vaccinated too early you do run the risk of being prepared for the early part of flu season, but you may not be covered then through the end of flu season," said St. Germain Health Mart pharmacist Jennifer Hansen.


+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here