— The former supervisor of the Wisconsin Department of
Justice's Milwaukee office allowed nearly four dozen
Internet child pornography cases to languish for months,
agency officials said in his termination letter.
internal investigation found former Special
Agent-in-Charge Willie Brantley held 43 cases longer than
120 days before assigning them between 2011 and 2013,
according to the letter Deputy Attorney General Kevin St.
John sent Brantley on March 19. Brantley held some cases
for years and some were never assigned, St. John wrote.
the investigation turned up examples of other special
agents-in-charge holding child pornography cases during
that time. But he called those instances
"outliers" and none of those cases ever sat
longer than three months.
is no other conclusion I can reach but that your
inattention amounts to extreme negligence to duty,"
St. John wrote. "This discipline takes into account
the ongoing risk to the public safety that was set in play
by your actions."
Brantley's attorney, included St. John's letter in
documents he sent to the Wisconsin Employment Relations
Commission on Thursday appealing Brantley's termination.
Bach alleged the Department of Justice fired Brantley in
part because he's black, noting he was the only black
special agent-in-charge in the agency's Division of
on to say DOJ officials were aware of a backlog in online
child pornography cases well before Brantley was fired and
no one set up a timeline for assigning cases. He also
argued the agency lacks the resources to investigate every
tip as it comes in.
Brantley was sanctioned for violating a non-existent
procedure or workplace rule that was not within his
exclusive control, and was based on a systemic problem
known to DOJ management," Bach wrote.
materials offer the first definitive details on the extent
of DOJ's child porn investigation delays. Republican
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has prided himself on
prosecuting Internet crimes against children, and agency
officials have been vague about the details.
Hollen said on March 19 that a supervisor and an agent had
lost their jobs. He said an internal investigation found
they were responsible for delays in assigning and
investigating tips about online child pornography.
instance, a DOJ agent identified an Internet address that
was distributing child porn in December 2012. The case was
assigned in February 2013 but it took a year to execute a
search warrant at the man's home. The man confessed to
inappropriately touching an 11-year-old boy the weekend
before the warrant was executed, according to court
another case, DOJ got a tip in March 2011 alleging a man
had distributed child porn via Facebook but the agency
didn't notify local police until April 2013, more than two
years later. The man's attorney argued the search warrant
police executed at the man's home was dated, resulting in
a plea deal that kept the man off the state's sex offender
Hollen declined to name the two employees or say whether
they were fired or terminated. He also said the delays
weren't systemic but added that he didn't know how many
cases may have sat or for how long.
identified Brantley as the supervisor last week and the
agent as Anna King. They haven't said whether King was
fired or resigned. Bach said in an interview he didn't
know if she had an attorney or if she had filed anything
in hopes of getting her job back.
officials also said last week a third employee has been
disciplined after a tip about a suspected Milwaukee child
porn distributor sat for more than three years. They've
declined to name that person or elaborate on the
spokeswoman Dana Brueck said Tuesday that Van Hollen
stands behind what he said last month. She declined to
comment on Brantley's appeal.
Hollen announced last fall he wouldn't run for a third
term. State Rep. Jon Richards of Milwaukee, Dane County
District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and Jefferson County
District Attorney Susan Happ are vying for the Democratic
nomination. Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel
is the only Republican running.
on Tuesday accused Van Hollen of avoiding a full public
accounting. He said the U.S. attorney in Madison, John
Vaudreuil, should investigate.
Hollen responded with a statement saying if Richards wants
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to run the Wisconsin
DOJ, he can hand the agency over to him if he becomes
attorney general. A Vaudreuil spokeswoman declined
campaign spokesman called on the Legislature to
investigate. Brueck declined comment on that statement.
meanwhile, issued a statement saying DOJ is holding its
agents accountable and people shouldn't inject politics
into protecting children.
campaign had no immediate comment.