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Sex offender provides leads in child porn ring inquiry

Date: August 16, 2004
Source: JS Online
By: David Doege

Before he went to prison last month for repeatedly sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy as part of a Beaver Dam pornography ring, Robert J. Hornyak sat down twice with investigators to help them in exchange for helping himself.

By the time he was done talking, court records show, Hornyak had given authorities enough information for two search warrants on the home of a man he'd not seen in up to three years.

Hornyak's cooperation indicates that investigators are still working leads resulting from their probe of a child sex ring in Beaver Dam and resorting to more creative techniques.

The warrants yielded investigators enough information earlier this month to charge Waukesha youth football coach David C. Kanouse with possession of child pornography.

Hornyak's debriefing also gave police and prosecutors enough information to reopen an investigation into allegations that Kanouse sexually assaulted a teenage boy while working as a counselor in a Summit group home in 1997, the affidavit shows.

And, Hornyak told investigators, Kanouse admitted having sexual relations with a 9-year-old boy in his Waukesha apartment, according to the affidavit.
Creative law enforcement

Hornyak's involvement with a child sex crimes task force is a sign of changing times in law enforcement.

"What you see here is law enforcement becoming more creative in the investigative techniques they're using," Marquette University Law School professor Daniel Blinka said. "Ten or 15 years ago, law enforcement investigated these kinds of sex crimes in terms of the single crime they were focused on.

"Here it's being treated in a way that drug investigations have operated for years. For a long time it's been a matter of course in a drug investigation to get dealers to roll over on other dealers.

"With sex crimes, you never thought in terms of rings and people involved in sex crimes associating with one another. What you're seeing now is investigators becoming more savvy."

Hornyak, 59, of Milwaukee, was ultimately sentenced to 23 years in prison followed by 13 years of extended supervision in the community.

Earlier this month, he filed a motion in Milwaukee County Circuit Court saying he intends to seek "post-conviction relief," the first step in trying to get a case reopened or a sentence reduced.

Hornyak is one of several men who were charged with having links to a child pornography ring in Beaver Dam or trading pornographic images over the Internet.

The criminal complaint filed against Kanouse, 30, indicates he accumulated a variety of child pornography on his home computer, and that he got it "by trading online."

Hornyak's two debriefings came in May and June, according to affidavits investigators filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court for search warrants for Kanouse's apartment on Aug. 3 and 5.

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