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Ex-Oakwood public safety director gets new trial date in child porn case

Published: Friday, March 15, 2019 @ 8:34 AM


            Former Oakwood public safety director, Alex Bebris, wants to change defense attorneys as he faces an upcoming trial involving federal prosecution regarding child pornography charges in Wisconsin. FILE
Former Oakwood public safety director, Alex Bebris, wants to change defense attorneys as he faces an upcoming trial involving federal prosecution regarding child pornography charges in Wisconsin. FILE

Former Oakwood Public Safety Director Alex Bebris —facing child pornography charges in Wisconsin —wants a new lawyer and asked a judge to allow him to serve as his own counsel until he gets one.

Bebris, 50, is charged with distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. If convicted, he would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years and up to 20 years of incarceration in federal prison.

MORE: Federal charges filed against former Oakwood public safety director

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Attorney Kevin Musolf of the Robinson Law Firm in Appleton, Wisc., has represented Bebris since January, but prior to a scheduled March 25 trial date, Bebris asked for a continuance in the case because he no longer wanted Musolf as his lawyer.

The firm confirmed the move Thursday afternoon, affirming the court documents obtained by this newspaper which state, “the defendant wishes to obtain different counsel,” and that “he is not waiving his right to a jury trial.”

Bebris crafted a hand-written note to the court asking that he be allowed to represent himself until his new attorney takes his case, but does not name the lawyer. He remains in federal custody at the Brown County Jail, pending trial.

The court granted the continuance, and a status conference is now scheduled for April 5 at 3:30 p.m.

Bebris initially was charged by criminal complaint on Dec. 20. On Jan. 15, he was indicted by a grand jury on two counts.

MORE: Facebook tip led to child porn charges for former Oakwood chief

A Dell computer was seized in Bebris’ residence, and investigators told the court that 89 files involving child porn were located on the hard drive.

Court documents obtained by the Dayton Daily News after Bebris’ initial court appearance in January revealed details about the images the investigators said they found on his computer. Those included images of boys and girls appearing to range in age from 1 to 10, some engaged in sexual activity, along with images of bestiality, the records show.

Court records say Facebook submitted two cyber tips in September to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that one of its users had sent images of child pornography via its messenger system to another Facebook user.

The tips were passed along to the Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, which tracked the IP address to Bebris’ home in Neenah, Wisconsin.

Bebris left his Oakwood position — he oversaw police officers, firefighters and EMTs — to pursue a new career, according to city officials. Current chief Alan Hill succeeded him. Bebris held the job for 11 years.

He was a candidate for Outagamie County sheriff, but failed a background check to be named police chief of Hortonville in 2018 according to the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office. After the failed background check, Hortonville withdrew the job offer.