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JEFFERSON – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that on April 4, 2011, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Jacqueline R. Erwin sentenced Ronald W. Bowser, Jr. on two felony charges of possessing child pornography.
With respect to both counts, the court ordered Bowser to serve concurrent terms of imprisonment of 10 years with the first three years of each sentence to be served in the state prisons. Upon completion of the prison terms Bowser will serve seven years on community supervision monitored by the Department of Corrections (DOC). As conditions of that community supervision Bowser must, among other things, complete any assessment and treatment required by DOC, have no contact with children except as specifically permitted by DOC, avoid public places where children congregate, not possess or use computers or other like devices or access the Internet except as specifically authorized by DOC, provide a DNA sample to the DNA database, comply with all sex offender reporting requirements, and pay court costs and surcharges, including seven separate child pornography surcharges in the amount of $500.00 each, totaling $3,500.00.
On December 16, 2010, Bowser had entered guilty pleas to two counts of possession of child pornography and was found guilty. Five additional counts of possession of child pornography were “read-in” to the record for consideration by the court at sentencing but were dismissed.
The charges arose from a January 9, 2007, undercover investigation on the peer-to-peer file sharing network conducted by a Special Agent of the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. A computer eventually identified as Bowser’s was observed on the network to contain files believed to be sexually explicit images of children. DCI investigators obtained a search warrant for the home in Sullivan where the computer was located and the home was searched A computer identified as one owned by, and used by, Bowser was seized and later analyzed by the DCI Computer Forensic Unit. Analysts recovered from Bowser’s computer 27 digital videos stored in “shared” file folder of his peer-to-peer software. Each of those videos depicted scenes of sexual exploitation of children. The videos appeared to have been downloaded by Bowser from the peer-to-peer file sharing network and did not appear to have been produced by him.
Bowser was originally charged with seven counts of possessing child pornography in a criminal complaint prepared in March 2007 by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. The case involved an appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in which DOJ attorneys successfully defended pretrial rulings made by Judge Erwin. Following the appeals, DOJ attorneys entered the case in the trial court in 2010 at the request of the District Attorney’s Office. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department assisted DCI in the execution of the search warrant and other investigation at Bowser’s home. Assistant Attorney General Michael Schaefer and Jefferson County Assistant District Attorney Monica Hall represented the state.