Evidence Gathering Error in Shawano County Child Porn Case Leads To Large Evidence Suppression; Trial Delay For Traveling Basketball Coach.
Over 200 Child Pornography charges filed against a traveling basketball coach that ran a camp in Shawano back in 2015 have been dismissed by Shawano County Circuit Court Judge James Habeck. 24-year-0ld Nicholas Bennett was facing 203 felony counts which included 201 charges of child pornography that was allegedly found on a laptop computer that was seized at the time of his arrest. According to court documents, Bennett’s attorney George Papas questioned how the child pornography was obtained. Papas claimed that investigators and detectives did not have the authority to investigate the content on the laptop, because it went beyond what the search warrant that they did obtain allowed. Records show the first warrant allowed investigators to secure possible evidence. According to court records, upon discovery of child pornography, investigators did obtain a search warrant to investigate the contents of the computer. Judge Habeck ruled in favor of the defense and dismissed all 201 child pornography charges. Bennett is still facing two felony counts, including Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and up to a $100,000 dollar fine. Bennett is also facing a felony charge of Child Enticement, which carries a maximum of 25 years in prison and up to a $100,000 dollar fine if convicted. Bennett was scheduled for a jury trial this week, but that has been moved to April 27th.
Bennett was arrested for allegedly arranging a sexual encounter with whom he believed to be a 13 year old boy. Bennett was in Shawano putting on a basketball camp in October and according to the complaint, starting communicating with a 13 year old boy who attended the camp. The complaint alleges that Bennett’s conversation through text messages was intercepted by the boys mother who then turned the phone over the Shawano County Law Enforcement. Members of the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department started posing as the 13-year old boy, and started engaging in sexually explicit text messages, which according to court documents, eventually led to plans of meeting in a hotel, which Bennett allegedly drove back to Wisconsin for, leading to his arrest upon arrival. Bennett was a traveling coach with Pro Shot Shooting Systems