Judge Blomme Gets 9-Year Sentence For Child Pornography
Elected in 2020, arrested in March. Actions called 'the worst of the worst' at sentencing.
Former Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Brett Blomme was sentenced Wednesday to nine years in prison and 20 years of supervised release for distribution of child pornography.
Blomme, 39, reached a plea agreement on the two federal charges in August. During his sentencing hearing, Chief Western District of Wisconsin Judge James D. Peterson called his actions “the worst of the worst” and “extreme victimization.” He also said Blomme’s actions will cause those that appeared before him to question his decisions, even if he didn’t abuse the powers of his office in committing the crimes.
“Today’s sentence sends an unambiguous message that we will track down and hold accountable those who distribute child sexual abuse material,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin Timothy O’Shea said in a statement. “Every time an image of child sexual abuse is shared, it re-victimizes that child. No one is above the law and I am grateful to our law enforcement partners who helped ensure that the defendant would be held accountable for his crimes.”
Blomme was first elected to a six-year term as judge in April 2020. Running as a liberal challenger, Blomme defeated Scott Walker appointee Paul Dedinsky. He took his seat on the bench in August 2020 and most recently was assigned to children’s court.
Blomme’s husband, Christopher Verhaeghe, and the couple’s two kids live in Cottage Grove in Dane County. Verhaeghe works for UW-Madison as the assistant director of orientations. During his campaign, Blomme reported living in their Milwaukee home full time. Blomme and Verhaeghe’s children are not referenced in the indictment as being connected to the videos and none of the video descriptions match them.
Blomme pled guilty in September. He is required to pay restitution and forfeit an Apple iPhone as part of the agreement. Each count carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and five years of supervised release. The federal charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a lifetime period of supervised release and a $5,000 assessment. As part of the agreement, O’Shea recommended to the court the “maximum available reduction for acceptance of responsibility” in sentencing. A sentencing memo shows that the prosecution ultimately recommended a more than 12-to-15 year prison term.
He also faces seven state charges, but they will be dropped as part of the plea deal.
Represented by attorney Christopher T. Van Wagner, Blomme previously pled not guilty to both the state and federal charges. Van Wagner, in a sentencing memo, asked for only a five-year prison term. He said his client wants help for his porn addiction and alcohol abuse.
After the state charges were entered, the Wisconsin Supreme Court used its constitutional authority to temporarily prohibit Blomme from exercising the powers of a circuit court judge and withhold his salary. He resigned on September 1.
Blomme previously served as the president and CEO of the Cream City Foundation from 2017 until his election. He also held the part-time position as head of the City of Milwaukee Board of Zoning Appeals after being appointed by Mayor Tom Barrett in 2019. He previously worked as a public defender.
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