WASHBURN COUNTY -- A criminal complaint has been filed in Washburn County Circuit Court charging a Spooner, WI man with possession of child pornography following an investigation by the Washburn County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

In October 2020, the United States Department of Homeland Security received a referral from an investigation team based in Essex, England which had arrested an individual for distribution of indecent images of children from June 2019 through June 2020. Their investigation revealed that the individual arrested had been in communication with over a hundred other people and had exchanged hundreds of emails with those people.

One of the emails addresses from that investigation was ultimately identified as belonging to Justin L. Schutz, with an address in Shell Lake, WI, and the investigation revealed that multiple images of child pornography had been exchanged via that email address in March 2020. This information was provided to the WI ICAC Task Force, and on November 30, 2020, was subsequently received by the Washburn County Sheriff’s Office.

A records check with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections provided the Washburn County Sheriff’s Office with a Spooner, WI address for Justin Schutz, and also confirmed that Schutz is a registered sex offender with a previous conviction for exposing genitals to a child.

On December 3, 2020, investigators went to Schutz’s Spooner, WI residence, and spoke with him. Schutz admitted to having a problem with viewing images of child pornography and stated that he had viewed child pornography as recently as the night before according to the criminal complaint filed against him. Schutz stated that he only looks at child pornography when he is depressed.

Investigators learned that while they were at the residence when Schutz had gone into another room, he had requested another individual who was also at the residence to perform a factory reset on a cell phone in Schutz’s possession, stating to that person that he had not been ‘very good lately’.

When the phone was searched, at least 7 images were found that contained graphic images of nude prepubescent children. Numerous data storage devices were seized from Schutz’s residence during the search warrant, and the criminal complaint states that a forensic review of those items will be conducted by DCI.

On January 4, 2020, a criminal complaint was filed against Shutz charging him with 7 counts of Class D Felony Possession of Child Pornography.

Online records show that Schutz was convicted in 2015 of Misdemeanor Exposing Genitals to a Child and that in 2015 he also entered into an 8 year Deferred Judgement of Conviction agreement for a charge of Class B Felony Repeated Sexual Assault of Same Child (At Least 3 Violations of 1st Degree Sexual Assault).

A request for substitution of Judge was filed on January 5, 2020, regarding Schutz’s new charges, and at the time of this post that request is still pending and no future court date is listed for Schutz.

Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


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