Former cop seeks dismissal of some child porn charges 

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 01-18-2023 7:51 PM

GREENFIELD — A Franklin County Superior Court judge has taken under advisement two motions to dismiss filed by the defense attorney representing a former Bernardston and Buckland police officer who faces 10 child pornography charges.

Judge Jane Mulqueen said Wednesday she has “a lot of reading to do” before making a decision on four of the charges against Jacob R. Wrisley, 41, of Shelburne Falls, who once worked as a part-time police officer. The case was transferred from Greenfield District Court due to its severity.

Wrisley has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of possession of child pornography, one count of posing or exhibiting a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct, and one count of photographing, videotaping or electronically surveilling the sexual or other intimate parts of a child.

Bail of $2,500, which he posted following his May 2021 arrest, was transferred from District Court on identical conditions — that Wrisley have no unsupervised contact with any child under 18, including by electronic platforms; have no overnight stays where children under 18 are present; not work or volunteer for any organization that serves children under 18; report to the Probation Department on schedule; and notify probation if he moves or changes his phone number.

Defense attorney Robert Kinzer filed two motions, each to have a pair of charges dismissed for insufficient grand jury evidence. He told Mulqueen that authorities arrested Wrisley and confiscated multiple electronic devices — including laptops, USB drives and an iPhone XR — that allegedly contained pornographic images of children. However, he said, three of the child pornography possession charges stem from identical images found in different caches. Therefore, Kinzer has moved to dismiss two of the charges, which he said are redundant.

Assistant District Attorney Anne Yereniuk, who is prosecuting the case for the state, argued there is no legal definition of what constitutes a cache. She also said Wrisley had “a very highly organized and secretive collection.”

Kinzer’s other motion pertains to the count of posing or exhibiting a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct and the count of photographing, videotaping or electronically surveilling the sexual or other intimate parts of a child. According to Kinzer, a camera was set up in the bathroom of Wrisley’s girlfriend at the time and images of children in that bathroom were found on Wrisley’s phone.

However, Kinzer argued there is no evidence of direct interaction with any child depicted in the offending images, suggesting Wrisley did not pose or exhibit a child in a state of nudity.

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Kinzer also mentioned one occasion in which a child undressed in the bathroom, exposing the buttocks and chest area. He argued there was no lascivious intent and the image was not sexually suggestive, which the state has the burden of proving to convict on a charge of photographing, videotaping or electronically surveilling the sexual or other intimate parts of a child.

Yereniuk told Mulqueen that tens of thousands of images of child pornography and child erotica were found on Wrisley’s devices. She also mentioned there is testimony that Wrisley allegedly surveilled fully clothed children at recreation areas “in his work vehicle at the time,” referring to a police cruiser. Wrisley, who was seated next to his attorney during court on Wednesday, shook his head at this accusation.

A pretrial hearing has been set for April 12.

Reach Domenic Poli at dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.

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