Lawyers Ask Dismissal of Child-Porn Charges
Christian Brother Case Will Be Ruled on Dec. 3
By William Presecky
November 17, 1999
Although he has acknowledged hoarding a few hundred sexually explicit computer images, prosecuting Christian Brother Robert Brouillette on charges of dealing in child pornography is "a big stretch," his attorneys argued Tuesday.
Will County Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak said she would rule Dec. 3 whether to dismiss the 10 counts of child pornography against Brouillette, 57. His attorneys, Patrick Reardon and Mark Solock of Chicago, argued that prosecutors failed to prove his guilt conclusively.
Bertani-Tomczak took the motion for a directed verdict of acquittal under advisement Tuesday after Assistant State's Atty. John McCabe concluded his prosecution of Brouillette.
McCabe told the judge that "incredibly strong circumstantial evidence" links Brouillette to an Internet exchange of child pornography with a New Hampshire police investigator who posed as a trader in an on-line chat room.
"These chats are associated with (Brouillette's) personal (Internet provider) account in his name," McCabe said. "There is strong circumstantial evidence that points to him and him alone."
Some of the sexually explicit images allegedly sent to the undercover officer in New Hampshire via the Internet were among the roughly 400 images on computer disks seized by police, McCabe said.
The person sending the images used Brouillette's provider account and a telephone line traced to the Joliet residence he shared with three other members of the Christian Brothers religious order.
In response to McCabe's contention that Brouillette admitted to police he had swapped sexually explicit images via the Internet as far back as 1995, Reardon argued that "an admission of some wrongdoing at some time in the past does not infer admission of the wrongdoing as charged."
Reardon said the attempt by McCabe to link what he called "a compulsive behavior to collect" with intent to disseminate child pornography "is a big stretch."
In asking for acquittal, Solock also asked Bertani-Tomczak to consider that prosecutors failed to offer any medical testimony that the people depicted in the computer images presented in the case were children.
McCabe said he will supplement the court record with several appellate court opinions that show such expert testimony isn't necessary when the factual basis of what is depicted in the pictures can be ascertained through common sense.
"Beyond a reasonable doubt, these are images of children," McCabe said.
Brouillette reportedly led police on a search of his room in Joliet on the same day in April 1998 that he was arrested in Burbank and charged in Cook County with indecent solicitation of a child.
The computer disks taken from the room and the images of child pornography they allegedly contain led to his arrest in Will County in August 1998.
Brouillette's trial in Cook County won't be scheduled until after disposition of the Will County case, according to his attorneys.
He is free on $45,000 combined bond in the two counties.
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