|Joel Hochmuth is the second WELS staffer to plea-bargain a felony this year.|
Former Lutheran official sentenced to jail, not prison
By Mike Johnson of the Journal Sentinel June 4, 2012 5:20 p.m.
Waukesha - A former Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod official was placed on probation for 10 years Monday and ordered to serve one year in jail with work-release privileges as a condition of probation for possession of child pornography.
Waukesha County Circuit Judge Kathryn W. Foster withheld imposing a prison term on Joel W. Hochmuth, 52, of Waukesha, who had faced up to 15 years behind bars followed by 10 years of extended supervision for the crime.
But she warned Hochmuth that if there was any hint of him "going back to any kind of behavior like this," his probation would be revoked and the full "25-year prison sentence will be staring you in the face."
Hochmuth used the Internet to download hundreds of images of boys engaged in sexual acts with other youths and men.
Hochmuth, who was the communications director for the synod, was charged in November with three counts of possession of child pornography. He was fired by the synod one day after the charges were filed against him in Waukesha County Circuit Court.
As part of a plea agreement that avoided a trial in the case, Hochmuth on March 9 pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. The two other counts were dismissed.
Before Foster made her determination, a tearful Hochmuth apologized for the double life he was leading. Just before he spoke, family and friends told Foster that Hochmuth was a warm and caring person, a hardworking father and husband, and someone who was worthy of a judge's mercy and a second chance even though what he did was detestable.
"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 Foster.
He said he is in a treatment plan that he began after his arrest.
"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."
According to the criminal complaint, investigators found several hundred images on his home computer and 310 photographs and 38 videos on a thumb drive at his WELS office in Wauwatosa. Hochmuth denied downloading any explicit material while at work, or creating his own pornography, the complaint states.
Hochmuth told investigators that he had been "struggling with an addiction to viewing pornographic photos and videos of young boys in sexually explicit poses," and that he had gone to counseling after his wife caught him viewing them, the complaint says.
He was investigated by the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force after an undercover agent identified a residence in Waukesha that was distributing child pornography, according to the complaint. Hochmuth was using a software program that allows individuals to connect to each other's computers and browse and download files as well as chat online, according to the complaint.
The complaint also states that the agent engaged Hochmuth in chats and that in one Hochmuth told the agent that he liked pictures of males who were 10 years old or older, the complaint states.
The FBI informed Waukesha police, who made the arrest.
GJ - Left unanswered - Who provided the earlier, failed counseling? Was it the WELS counseling agency? One WELS pastor asked SP Schroeder, who did not answer.
Why was this crime not reported by his wife and the counseling agency?
Notice that he had to go outside his Antinomian UOJ church for help with his addiction.
Congratulations WELS - after complaining--sanctimoniously--about ELCA and the Roman Catholics, you are now listed by the prime lobbying group - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - SNAP. The Roman hierarchy hates SNAP because SNAP has networked the victims with great effect. The group uploaded the arrest video to YouTube, which combined the defense attorney's lie about adult pornography when the charge was swapping files showing man-boy rape.
SNAP Wisconsin is the state-wide group. If you have a problem with WELS, contact SNAP and an attorney, not the cover-up magicians of WELS.
Wisconsin Lutheran College (WELS when fund-raising) featured one of the worst archbishops, Weakland, as their speaker in a widely promoted series, which also included various priests. Weakland had an affair with a young man and used church funds to pay blackmail to his lover, claiming the funds came from his own account. WELS deceived everyone about the lectures, never explaining why an official of Rome was speaking on behalf of the Wisconsin Sect.
|Years ago, Wisconsin Lutheran College featured Weakland as their speaker, along with some of his priests.|
Weakland claimed that children invited sex with adults.
This page used to link to the SP Schroeder/Hochmuth letter against ELCA for supporting homosexual clergy. Just as I expected, the page was removed. That is the WELS approach - hide the evidence, spin the story, and punish anyone who asks more than once about the corruption.
But relax. I found another copy on the Net, thanks to my extensive experience in tracking down synodical lies:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Aug. 21, 2009 Contact: Joel Hochmuth Director of Communications Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod email@example.com
WELS president expresses regret at ELCA decision on gay clergy
Milwaukee, Wis.—Rev. Mark Schroeder, president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), is expressing regret at the vote of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) convention regarding homosexual clergy. Friday, delegates approved a resolution committing the church to find a way for “people in such publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships” to serve as professional leaders of the church.
“To view same-sex relationships as acceptable to God is to place cultural viewpoint and human opinions above the clear Word of God,” says Schroeder. “The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, along with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and other smaller Lutheran synods, maintains and upholds the clear teaching of the Bible that homosexuality is not in keeping with God’s design and is sinful in God’s eyes.”
At the same time, Schroeder says WELS congregations stand ready to support those struggling with same-sex attractions. “As with any sin, it is the church’s responsibility to show love and compassion to sinners, not by condoning or justifying the sin, but by calling the sinner to repent and by assuring the sinner that there is full forgiveness in Jesus Christ,” Schroeder says.
WELS, with about 390,000 members and nearly 1,300 congregations nationwide, is the third largest Lutheran church body in the United States. In Wisconsin alone, there are more than 201,000 members and 417 congregations. “It’s unfortunate that many headlines have referred to the recent decisions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as something ‘Lutherans’ have decided,” Schroeder says. “In fact, the ELCA is only one of many Lutheran denominations. We are saddened that a group with the name Lutheran would take another decisive step away from the clear teaching of the Bible, which was the foundation of the Lutheran Reformation.”
Schroeder says that WELS is firmly committed to upholding God’s design for marriage as outlined in Scripture—a design intended for one man and one woman. “We believe, and the Bible teaches, that God designed this relationship to be a blessing for men and women and for society. Any departure from what God himself has designed does two things: it denies the clear teachings of Scriptures and it undermines God’s desire that the man/woman relationship in marriage be a blessing.”
On the WELS.net site I found a reaction to that news release, but not the news release itself.
Feedback to a WELS news release quoting Pres. Mark Schroeder's reaction to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) decision to allow homosexuals in "lifelong, monogamous" relationships to serve as pastors continues to flow in.
On Aug. 21, the day the ELCA churchwide assembly approved the resolution, Communication Services posted Pres. Schroeder's response expressing WELS opposition based on clear biblical principles on the synod's Web site. A news release was also sent to Religion News Service for worldwide distribution.
So far, the reaction has been almost universally positive, with statements of support coming from both WELS and non-WELS members. "I appreciate your statement and share your disappointment," writes one woman from Michigan. "Thank you for posting the statement with a clear Biblical viewpoint."
"As a member of an ELCA church, I applaud you standing up for the Word of God and having the backbone to speak up and put your 8/21 letter on your Web site," writes another woman from Minnesota.
While it is impossible to gauge precisely how widely published Schroeder's comments were, the news release was printed virtually verbatim on more than a dozen blogs. Schroeder's comments were quoted in an MSNBC.com article (link no longer available) on the reaction to the ELCA decision from both WELS and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
Hochmuth was not excommunicated, but Rick Techlin and the Krohns were.
Christians are not immune to Satan’s temptations. David, Paul, and Peter all knew from personal experience that believers can and do commit terrible and unspeakable sin. But they also knew and experienced the restoring power of God’s grace. Joel Hochmuth knows this as well. Joel is receiving pastoral care from his pastors and others. We are confident that the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in God’s Word has brought him to recognize and repent of his sin, and we also know that he has sought and received the comfort of forgiveness in the redeeming sacrifice of our Savior. Please pray that Joel will continue to be assured of forgiveness at the foot of the cross and that God’s grace will restore him, renew him, and strengthen his faith.
Serving in Christ, Rev. Mark Schroeder, WELS President
ST. FRANCIS - A Waukesha Catholic priest is now on leave after a sexual abuse allegation. The allegation dates back 30 years.
Parishioners are stunned by the news. However, this is not the first time Father John Schreiter has been accused of sexual abuse.
The Catholic Diocese says he is now on leave, just one week before he was set to retire.
"People looked upset. I saw people crying. People looked shocked," one parishioner told us.