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UPDATE: Fmr. Janitor Accused of Viewing Child Porn Posts Bond

By: WSAW Staff Email
By: WSAW Staff Email
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UPDATE: Sat. 9:00 AM, Aug 24, 2013

A former Phelps School District janitor accused of using school district computers to access child pornography is out of jail after being released from custody late Friday.

Richard Buell was released on a $1,000 bond.

He appeared in Vilas County Court Friday where he was formally charged with 10 counts of possessing child pornography. Buell's bond was also reduced from $10,000 cash to $1,000 cash with the condition he not apply for a passport.

According to the criminal complaint, back in February Buell admitted to the District Administrator he had been viewing porn on a school issued laptop. An analyst from the Department of Justice discovered multiple images on the computer; of those images 78 were believed to be child pornography.

Buell will return to court on September 30th.

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UPDATE: Fri 3:10 PM, Aug 23, 2013

A 61-year-old Phelps man accused of accessing child pornography using a Phelps School District computer was formally charged Friday in Vilas County Court.

Richard Buell is now charged with 10 counts of possessing child pornography.

According to the criminal complaint, Buell was given a school issued laptop to monitor the school's ventilation system. On February, 6 the District Administrator said Buell came into her office and stated he had been viewing porn on the computer and it locked up.

The school's tech support specialist was unable to access the computer's cookies,(information stored from websites the user accessed) but did discover photos of current and former Phelps High School girls in bikinis.

An analyst from the Department of Justice discovered multiple nude images; of those images 78 were believed to be child pornography. According to the analysis, the searches for pornography were done between November 2012 and February 2013.

Friday in court, Buell's bond was reduced from $10,000 cash to $1,000 cash with the condition he not apply for passport.

District Attorney David Breedlove objected to Buell's bond being lowered.

He'll return to court on September 30 to learn if his case will head to trial.
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UPDATE: Wed 2:35 PM, Aug 21, 2013

A former Phelps School District janitor is expected to be charged Friday with 10 counts of possessing child pornography; far less then the 78 charges authorities were recommending to the District Attorney.

Richard Buell, 61, remains behind bars in the Vilas County Jail on a $10,000 cash bond.

The District Attorney's office would not comment whether more charges will be filed.

NewsChannel has requested a copy of the criminal complaint- that is a court document that details the steps of the investigation based on statements from witnesses and the suspect.

When we receive that document we will share the information with you.

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UPDATE: Tues 4:57 PM, Aug 20, 2013

Richard Buell, 61, remains behind bars on a $10,000 cash bond in Vilas County Jail.

Buell appeared in court Tuesday morning for bond hearing.

Online court records do not show an open case. Future court dates have not yet been determined.

NewsChannel 7 will continue to follow the investigation.

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ORIGINAL STORY: Mon 5:01 PM, Aug 19, 2013

A 61-year-old Phelps man is facing 78 counts of possession of child pornography after an investigation by the Phelps School District, Vilas County Sheriff's Department and Wisconsin Department of Justice.

According to a news release from the sheriff's department, in February, the department initiated an investigation after receiving information from the Phelps School District of an employee accessing pornographic web sites.

Evidence was collected and transmitted to the Wisconsin Department of Justice – State Crime Lab, for analysis.

On Monday, Richard Buell was taken into custody and is expected to be charged with 78 counts of possession of child pornography.

The Class D felony carries a maximum sentence of 25 years per count.

Phelps School District Superintendent Dr. Delnice Hill told NewsChannel 7 she is unable to comment on the case because it's an ongoing criminal investigation.

She did confirm that Buell has not been a district employee since February. Hill would not say if he was fired or left on his own.


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