An investigation into the embezzlement of funds by former aides to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has led to charges of sex crimes on the part of the domestic partner of one of the alleged embezzlers.
Computers and cellphones seized from the home shared by former Walker aide Timothy Russell and his domestic partner Brian Pierick revealed a series of text messages that Pierick exchanged with a 17 year old boy from Waukesha, Wisc. in 2010. As a result, Pierick was charged on Thursday with child enticement and causing a child to expose his genitals.
Russell, who has been charged with three counts of embezzling funds intended for veterans, is not named in the complaint, but he appears to be the person described as having been Pierick's co-conspirator in an attempt to lure the teen into Russell's van for a sexual encounter.
The Uppity Wisconsin blog notes that "Russell and Pierick are both longtime Republican operatives and Russell worked on then-County Executive Scott Walker's staff as his Deputy Cheif of Staff. Court records show the couple now lives in Sun Prairie, indicating that they moved to the Madison area during the same time that many of the rest of Governor Walker's former Milwaukee County Executive staff moved to Madison. Pierick has a position at the Department of Instruction and Russell is believed to have been involved in Republican campaigns the past year."
According to the complaint, the incident began on August 30, 2010, when the teen posted a "man seeking man" ad on Craigslist. Someone using Pierick's iPhone texted him back, and over 200 sexually explicit messages were exchanged over the next three months. The teen sent Pierick a picture of his own genitals, and Pierick sent a picture of himself and Russell.
The young man claimed to be almost 19 but also indicated in his messages that he was still in high school and living with his parents, which might have been a tip-off that he was somewhat younger. He expressed a willingness to meet Pierick and Russell in Russell's van on November 21, but claims he didn't follow through.
Pierick and Russell's computers also contained suspected child pornography, which the two men had procured under user names including "TRussell" and "Walker04." However, because the exact ages of the apparently adolescent subjects of the videos could not be determined, neither man has been charged on that basis.
This video is from WJDT News, January 5, 2012.