Lutheran official arrested in Waukesha on child pornography charges

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Police arrested the communications director of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod on suspicion of possessing or distributing child pornography at his Waukesha home.

A news release from the Waukesha Police Department said Joel W. Hochmuth, 52, was taken into custody at his home on Nov. 15 after the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force put out an alert “that a person at this residence was involved in the distribution of child pornography.”

Detectives found numerous images of child pornography at Hochmuth’s home.

“We are limited on the information we can provide at this time,” Sgt. Jerry Habanek said in the release.

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, also known as WELS, opposed the 2009 decision by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to allow the ordination of gays and lesbians in committed monogamous relationships.

“To view same-sex relationships as acceptable to God is to place cultural viewpoint and human opinions above the clear Word of God,” said the Rev. Mark Schroeder, president of WELS at the time.

With about 390,000 members and nearly 1,300 congregations nationwide, WELS  is the third largest Lutheran church body in the United States.

News of Hochmuth’s arrest comes on the heels of a scandal at the Schaumburg Christian School, where a teacher was taken into custody recently for masturbating in front of children.

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