WAUSAU (AP) – Prosecutors in central Wisconsin say investigators found nearly 100 photos and 12 DVDs showing child pornography in the home of a Catholic high school religion teacher.
Michael Switalski, 50, is being held on $75,000 bond after being charged in Marathon County with eight felony counts of possessing child pornography.
Switalski teaches religion, law and history at Newman Catholic High School and has coached the varsity boys’ soccer team for 20 seasons. He has been placed on administrative leave, the school said in a statement. None of the images confiscated by police involve any students at Newman, school administrators added.
Lou Ann Bohn, Switalski’s public defender, asked Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Jill Falstad Monday to release Switalski on a signature bond and called Switalski a “man of service” who poses no risk to the community.
“Every student who has walked those halls identifies Mr. Switalski as a pillar of the community,” Bohn said.
Police said Switalski apparently bought the videos from a company called Azov Films in Toronto and received the videos through the mail, Daily Herald Media reported, citing a criminal complaint.
Court documents said Switalski was one of hundreds of customers identified by investigators when they raided the company in 2011. Azov Films was the subject of more than 20 complaints to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to court documents.
One of the videos was in Switalski’s DVD player when investigators with the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation searched his home, Assistant District Attorney Elisabeth Gramer said.
A call to Bohn seeking further comment was not immediately returned.