RACINE - Mayor Gary Becker was charged with attempted sexual assault of a child and possession of child pornography
By Janine Anderson
Thursday, January 15, 2009 7:59 PM CST
RACINE - Mayor Gary Becker was charged with attempted sexual assault of a child and possession of child pornography, among other charges, when he made his initial appearance in Racine County Circuit Court this afternoon.
According to the criminal complaint, released today by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office, Becker faces the following charges:
• Attempted sexual assault of a child under 16 years of age. If convicted, he could face up to $50,000 in fines and up to 20 years imprisonment, which includes time in jail or prison and on extended supervision or probation.
• Child enticement. If convicted, he could face up to $100,000 in fines and 25 years imprisonment.
• Possession of child pornography. If convicted he could face up to $100,000 in fines and 25 years imprisonment. There is also a $500 surcharge for each image, and a minimum sentence of three years initial confinement, which a judge can order be served on probation.
• Use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. If convicted he could face $100,000 in fines and 40 years imprisonment. There is a minimum sentence of five years initial confinement, which a judge could order be served on probation.
• Attempted exposing a child to harmful material. If convicted he could face $10,000 in fines and nine months imprisonment.
• Misconduct in public office. If convicted, he could face up to $10,000 in fines and 3 ½ years imprisonment.
According to the complaint:
A man contracted by the city as a “computer help desk technician” called police on Dec. 23, saying he had performed work on Becker’s personal computer. He is responsible for tech support for the city of Racine agencies and departments, and not to provide services for personal computers.
However, he said he did perform maintenance on Becker’s personal computer. The computer was repaired during time dedicated to contract duties with the city.
While servicing the computer, the man said he discovered about six pornographic images, possibly depicting underage females, and he then called police.
Racine police contacted the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigations. On Jan. 7 Agent Eric Szatkowski applied for and received a search warrant for the computer’s hard drive. Upon review, Szatkowski reported he saw images of a pubescent female in a sexually provocative pose and adult females engaging in sexual activity.
An abbreviation on at least one file – DAU – indicates a fetish for incest, according to Szatkowski.
On Jan. 13 Szatkowski met with Racine Police Chief Kurt Wahlen, the complaint states. Wahlen told Szatkowski that a former IT contractor with the city had reported that in August 2007 he repaired another personal computer belonging to Becker. He turned over a CD of files from that computer, including some that appeared to be child pornography.
There was also evidence, according to the complaint, that Becker had been involved in more than 1,800 online chats of a sexually-explicit nature, with adults and juveniles.
A Yahoo! Messenger profile Becker created, according to the complaint, lists his interest as “seducing all age females into being hot sluts.”
Agent Szatkowski then created a profile, “Hope_Ulikeme14,” where he would pose as a 14-year-old girl, to try to engage Becker in online chats.
At the time, Becker used the screen name of “m reed,” Szatkowski reported.
During the chats, the complaint states, “m reed” indicated his name was Gary, that he was 6 feet tall and weighed about 210 pounds. He indicated he was interested in sexual activity with “Hope_Ulikeme14,” who said she was in eighth grade. A photograph of a former DCI intern was sent to “m reed.”
He gave a phone number to call after school on Jan. 13, the complaint said, and they agreed to meet at the Brookfield Square Mall in Brookfield. Becker also allegedly said he would buy the girl presents at “VS,” which Szatkowski believed was Victoria’s Secret, and wrote that “it will be hard to keep my hands off u in public,” and referenced going to a hotel room to have “lots of fun,” and said he wanted to take pictures of her modeling her new lingerie.
By phone, on Jan. 13, agents arranged to meet “m reed” in the food court of Brookfield Square. In a second call, made at 4:15 p.m. Jan. 13, “m reed” allegedly said “We better chat more, this is too dangerous,” and asked the analyst on the phone if she was “a cop.”
“M reed” said it would take about a ½ hour to get to the mall and asked what the girl would be wearing.
Surveillance was then set up at the food court. At about 5:30 p.m. Szatkowski said he saw Becker at the food court, approached him and asked if he was Mr. Reed. Becker reportedly identified himself as Gary Becker.
Szatkowski reports he informed Becker that he had received a complaint from a mother about improper Internet use by her daughter. After being advised of his rights, Becker said he was at the mall to eat and shop at Victoria’s Secret for his wife because too many people know him in Racine.
The agent reported that Becker initially said he was not “Mr. Reed,” but then admitted that he was. When Szatkowski produced a copy of the online chat, Becker admitted the chat log was his.
He initialed a copy of the complaint on Jan. 13.