Computer Crime Research Center


Couple feels destroyed by child porn allegations

Date: April 03, 2008

SPOKANE - Charges have yet to be filed yet in the case of a Spokane firefighter who was arrested two weeks ago for reportedly buying child pornography on the internet, leaving the man and his family embarrassed and awaiting answers.

Two weeks ago Todd Chism, a Spokane Fire Department Lieutenant, was arrested, and not long after his arrest his wife sent an e-mail to her friends proclaiming his innocence and her frustration with being accused of a crime with so little evidence.

That emotional, three-page letter has spread like wildfire to e-mail inboxes throughout the northwest.

Nicole Chism describes how their lives have been destroyed after her husband was arrested by the Washington State Patrol's Child Exploitation Team for allegedly purchasing child pornography on the internet. However detectives had no idea Chism was having trouble with his credit card.

In her e-mail Mrs. Chism wrote "[I]f they are linking these charges through our Bank of America card how could they have not done the most basic research and known this card number had to be changed four times in the last year due to fraud?"

"We know we have a client did nothing and there's no evidence on the computer and we're anxious for them to go through the computer," Chism's attorney Carl Oreskovich said.

Oreskovich feels a forensic search of his client's computers will not turn up any sign of child pornography or the credit card transaction. Chism's computer hard drives and other data were shipped to the State Patrol's computer crimes unit where four extra investigators have been assigned the case to speed up results.

"Once we actually clone a suspect's hard drive, which takes several weeks to do it can take a month to get completely through that hard drive," Lieutenant Chris Gundermann of the Washington State Patrol said.

Nicole Chism also resents the State Patrol's actions for forcing their way into her home without warning, writing again in her e-mail, "I am numb with confusion. They tell me that my husband has been arrested and that they are serving a search warrant on our home for computer crimes. My friends, I cannot even put into words the terror and sense of violation that I felt."

State Patrol officials say when computer crimes are involved they have to seize computer equipment first and ask questions later.

"You need to act quickly, get that best evidence, get that information," Lt. Gundermann said. "Obviously that's viewed as being intrusive, and it does catch people off guard but it's necessary in computer investigations.

The Chisms also blame local media, including KXLY 4, for advertising what they feel is a bogus bust, which is one reason they did not comment on this report.

In response to their concerns the State Patrol said if they had not notified the media of Todd Chism's arrest it would have appeared they were trying to cover up for the firefighter.

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2008-04-07 07:46:36 - Bill
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