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Ex-Lutheran church official gets 4 years prison for violating probation

Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

WAUKESHA, WI (WTAQ) - A former Lutheran church official in Wisconsin will go to prison for four years, for violating his probation on a child pornography conviction.

53-year-old Joel Hochmuth was sentenced a year ago to a year in the Waukesha County with work release privileges and 10 years of probation. And a judge warned him that he would go to prison to 15 years, if there was any hint that he goes back to possessing child porn.

His attorney, Paul Bucher, said his client’s new violations do not involve child porn or sex assault. He said Hochmuth admitted masturbating in a wooded area during his work-release job as a landscaper. And he watched a boys’ cross country team during a race.

Bucher said sex offenders are on very short leashes during their probation.

Hochmuth is a former communications director for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. He was arrested in 2011 for downloading hundreds of images of boys engaged in sex acts with other males.

Besides his new prison term, Hochmuth will spend 5 years under extended supervision when he gets out.