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Cop Says Catholic Brother Told Him Where to Find Child Porn

By William Presecky
Chicago Tribune
November 11, 1999

A former high school teacher and member of a Roman Catholic religious order told investigators he had collected about 400 computer images of child pornography, two investigators testified Wednesday in Joliet.

Robert Brouillette made the admission as he led police on a search of the Joliet residence he shared with three other members of the Roman Catholic Congregation of Christian Brothers, said Detective Robert Farley, coordinator of the child exploitation unit of the Cook County sheriff's office.

Farley said police searched Brouillette's room on April 19, 1998, the same day he was arrested in Burbank and charged in Cook County with indecent solicitation of a child.

The computer disks taken from Brouillette's room and the images of child pornography they allegedly contain led to a second arrest in Will County in August 1998. They now provide the bulk of evidence being introduced at his trial in Joliet.

Farley said Brouillette directed police to a closet in his room and to a packing box containing computer disks that he said he marked by the ages of the boys depicted.

Farley said Brouillette told him he had amassed more than 400 images in the three years he had been trading them.

Brouillette formally waived his right to a jury trial Wednesday. Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak is hearing the 10 counts of child pornography against him in Will County.

Farley and Cook County Detective Michael Anton were among five witnesses called Wednesday by Will County Assistant State's Atty. John McCabe. The trial resumes Tuesday.

McCabe said he will show that Brouillette intended to disseminate child pornography.

Brouillette, 57, is awaiting trial in Cook County, where he was arrested at a southwest suburban Burbank restaurant where police say he believed he was to meet with a 12-year-old boy he allegedly had met via the Internet. Sheriff's police had posed as a 12-year-old and began communicating with Brouillette in an Internet chat room. He was freed in Cook County on $20,000 bond. He also has posted a $25,000 bond in Will County.

Cook County authorities were alerted to Brouillette's alleged illicit Internet activities by a police investigator from Keene, N.H., who also testified Wednesday.

Over the objections of Brouillette's attorneys, telephone logs and other Internet service provider documentation generated by Detective James McLaughlin were introduced as evidence. McCabe said the documents link Brouillette to several alleged sexually explicit chat room discussions and the transfer of images of child pornography purported to have come from the Joliet home occupied by the religious order.

Christian Brothers is the order that runs Brother Rice High School in Chicago and St. Laurence High School in Burbank.

Brother Charles Gattone, who identified himself as leader of the order's western province, testified Wednesday that he and Brouillette and two other brothers share the Joliet residence, which doubles as the provincial office.

At the time of his arrest, Brouillette worked in an administrative post out of an office adjacent to Rice. According to officials of the religious order, he was not a member of the high school faculty and had no direct contact with students.

In court Wednesday, he listed his occupation as teacher.

 
 

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