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.