Anti-Gay Lutheran Official Jailed for Child Porn Charges
The former communications director for a conservative anti-gay Lutheran sin-off denomination was sentenced to one year in jail on Monday for the possession of child pornography, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Joel Hochmuth, 52, from Waukesha, Wis., who was an official of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), will spend the next year in jail with work release privileges and 10 years probation. Although Judge Kathryn Foster of the Waukesha County Wisconsin Circuit Court did not send Hochmuth to prison she did say she would sentence him the full 25-year prison sentence if there was any indication of him "going back to any kind of behavior like this."
Hochmuth was charged in November with three counts of child porn possession and was subsequently fired by the WELS a day later. The 52 year old downloaded hundreds of pictures of boys having sex with other children and men, the newspaper says.
According to Truth Wins Out, the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force found 310 images and 38 videos on his flash drive.
The website also points out the WELS's anti-gay teachings. The church says being gay "excludes people from eternal life," and calls it one of "Satan's cunning, deceitful lies," an "unholy lifestyle," and that people are not born gay. The church also says that it condemns all gay rights activists for their "efforts...to condone their homosexuality and to deny that anything is wrong with it."
Michelle and Marcus Bachmann were two of the church's most prominent members and belonged to a WELS Lutheran church in eastern Minnesota for more than 10 years. Hochmuth told CNN that the couple were members of the organization until six days before Michelle announced that she would run for the presidential bid.
Before Judge Foster announced her ruling, Hochmuth, who was in tears, apologized to his wife and son for the crime.
"I appear before you today guilty of an abhorrent and violent crime. I have offended my god, betrayed my wife, shamed our son and dishonored my church. To all of them I apologize. I also apologize to the victims portrayed in the images I viewed and downloaded. That I could have been so drawn to what I was looking at today disgusts me," Hochmuth told the judge.
He said he has been in treatment since he was arrested.
"For the first time I'm being equipped with the tools to fight my sinful habit," Hochmuth said.
"Finally, I'd like to express my hope that something good come out of all the evil I have done and the heartache I have caused. I pray that when I'm well I will be able to use whatever skills, talents and abilities I've been given to help eliminate this unspeakable form of abuse and to help men struggling with this or similar addictions take action before it destroys their lives and puts wives and their families through the hell I have."