According to a criminal complaint filed Monday, a Rhinelander physician charged with possession of child pornography initially denied accessing sexually explicit images of children through his Internet service but later admitted to downloading and viewing illegal material.
According to the complaint, the Oneida County Sheriff's Office began investigating Dr. Bruce K. Jacobson after a special agent with the Department of Justice discovered a certain IP (Internet Protocol) address "was offering to participate in the distribution" of child pornography.
The service and billing addresses for the account were later traced to Jacobson's residence and when the special agent used computer software to request child pornography from the IP address in question, he received three files of child pornography each depicting young males engaging in sexually explicit conduct, the complaint states.
According to a police report included in the court file, a search warrant was executed at Jacobson's residence on Dec. 13, 2011.
Jacobson was home at the time and consented to speak with officers.
According to the report, Jacobson told the officers he has been living alone at the residence for approximately three years. He explained he had two laptops and a wireless router that he used to access the Internet but noted that it was secured to prevent any unauthorized use.
When advised of the nature of the investigation, Jacobson initially denied any knowledge of the access of child pornography through his Internet service.
"Dr. Jacobson went on to advise that one of his computers did contain a nude image of a young boy and that he had scanned this image out of a medical book," the police report states. "Dr. Jacobson went on to explain that he used this image to give lectures on the Tanner Method of age determination. He further explained that the Tanner Method was routinely used by medical personnel for sports physicals to determine the muscle strength of the child patient."
Jacobson admitted that he had used peer to peer software on his computer to view adult pornography and, after being advised of his constitutional rights, eventually acknowledged he had also downloaded and viewed child pornography, the report states.
According to the report, Jacobson told officers he has been struggling with depression and had found some relief for his condition through pornography. More recently, he said his medication has been changed and he no longer derived pleasure from pornography. As a result, he said he deleted all images from his computer and conducted a "secure wipe" of his hard drive. He told officers he did this so he wouldn't be tempted to return to that activity, but the complaint states a forensic examination of one of Jacobson's laptops indicated child pornography websites had been visited as recently as Dec. 11.
Jacobson told the officers he didn't remember when he first began viewing child pornography or why he started.
"Dr. Jacobson went on to state that 'it just stuck,' referring to the child pornography. Dr. Jacobson also told me that he knew he was 'doing something bad' and that it bothered him.'" wrote Det. Sgt. David Kroll in the police report.
Jacobson, 51, a surgeon with Ministry Medical Group in Rhinelander, was arrested Dec. 15 on suspicion of possession of child pornography and was later freed on a $25,000 signature bond. Jacobson is on leave from his job and the allegations are not connected to Ministry property, Ministry Medical Group has said.
"The information shared with Ministry by law enforcement officials and Ministry's ongoing investigation reveal no involvement of Ministry property, computers, patients, other employees, or providers in law enforcement's allegations related to child pornography on the Internet by Dr. Jacobson," the health care provider said in a statement released after Jacobson's arrest.
Jacobson was not formally charged until Monday when Oneida County District Attorney Mike Bloom filed a one count complaint charging him with possession of child pornography.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 27 after the defense advised the doctor plans to enter an unspecified treatment program.
The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Heather Schaefer may be reached at email@example.com.
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