The domestic partner of a former longtime top aide of Gov. Scott Walker was found guilty last week of a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor under a plea deal struck with prosecutors.
Brian Pierick was initially charged with felony child enticement and causing a child to expose his genitals in connection with text messages he sent to a 17-year-old Waukesha boy in late 2010. The evidence was uncovered during a secret investigation of the Milwaukee County executive's office back when Walker held that post between 2002 and 2010.
Pierick pleaded no contest Jan. 25 to the lesser charge. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Patrick Haughney found Pierick guilty and set sentencing for Feb. 14. As part of the deal, Pierick agreed to perform 50 hours of community service.
Pierick’s arrest was the direct result of surveillance surrounding his longtime partner Timothy D. Russell, who was convicted of stealing more than $20,000 from a nonprofit group for veterans. Russell, who allegely used some of the money on vacations for Pierick and him, was sentenced to two years in prison on Jan. 22.
Wisconsin Democratic officials have repeatedly called on Walker to explain why he appointed Russell to a high-level post in his administration after Russell was reportedly terminated from his previous position at the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority for misuse of a department credit card.
A Log Cabin Republican, Russell has a long history with the Wisconsin GOP and with Walker. He managed former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s Milwaukee office before undertaking a failed run for the Assembly in 2000. He then joined the recall campaign that brought Walker into the Milwaukee County Executive position in 2002.
Russell went on to serve as an adviser to Walker’s campaigns as well as in various positions in Walker’s Milwaukee County administration. He was appointed to serve as the county’s interim director of economic development, but the county board refused to confirm him to the position due to his lack of experience and poor performance. Walker responded by shutting down the agency.
Walker next appointed Russell as his community relations director and then as housing administrator, where he served throughout Walker’s gubernatorial campaign.
In August 2010, investigators seized computer equipment and iPhones from Russell and Pierick’s home as part of an ongoing John Doe probe of Walker staffers. After that, Russell was not asked to join Walker’s gubernatorial administration.
Prosecutors inadvertently discovered pornographic images of underage males on Russell’s computer. Also found were graphic text-message chats with a then 17-year-old Waukesha boy that included references to sexual “role play” between “daddies” and “sons,” according to the complaint filed against Pierick.
A lengthy chat in which Pierick attempted to arrange a three-way sexual tryst involving him, Russell and the teen, who repeatedly claimed to be over 18, was transcribed in the complaint.
Among the usernames that Pierick and/or Russell used on pornographic fetish sites were “Walker04” and “TRusell.”
Russell was not charged with sex crimes. The John Doe investigation is ongoing.