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Justice Department delayed porn probes statewide, records show

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Newly released records show state Justice Department field offices across Wisconsin have delayed investigating child pornography tips for months.

The agency’s Madison office, for example, took about three years to assign two tips for follow-up and delayed initial investigative activity for a year in two cases and 18 months in another.

The DOJ fired Milwaukee Special Agent-In-Charge Willie Brantley in March for allowing nearly four dozen tips to languish. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said then no systemic problem existed with investigating child porn tips.

Assistant Attorney General Kevin Potter said in a letter accompanying the records that cases listed in them weren’t necessarily mishandled. They were simply targeted for further review. Dave Matthews, administrator of DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation, says he’s satisfied most of the cases were properly prioritized.

• The DOJ also suspended an employee for failing to forward tips about child pornography to supervisors.

The DOJ announced in April it had disciplined the worker for a delay in addressing a 2010 tip that a Milwaukee man might have downloaded child pornography. No one reviewed the tip until this past January, nine days after the man was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

The agency didn’t identify the worker or elaborate on the discipline.

A letter the DOJ released to The Associated Press on Thursday in response to an open records request said that the worker was suspended for five days without pay for failing to notify supervisors of seven tips, including the Milwaukee case.

The agency redacted the employee’s name.

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