LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Town of Campbell Police Chief Tim Kelemen entered a 'no contest' plea Friday afternoon to a misdemeanor charge for unlawful use of a computerized communication systems.
Kelemen used those computers and the name, address and phone number of tea party activist Greg Luce, to sign Luce up for numerous websites, including porn sites, to embarrass him.
Judge David Rice accepted a two-year diversion agreement Friday. Under that agreement, Kelemen must complete 40 hours of community service and seek treatment or counseling deemed necessary by a mental health provider. Upon completion, criminal charges are dismissed.
The hearing in La Crosse County Circuit Court was a continuation of a proceeding from earlier this month. A special judge needed to be appointed to the case due to conflicts of interest from La Crosse County judges.
But Luce addressed the court disagreeing with the deal. He said it's merely a "slap on the wrists."
"I don't believe a diversion agreement is fair in this situation," Luce said. "My reputation and my civil rights have been seriously harmed here."
But attorneys for both the prosecution and defense believe that agreement is fair.
"The history of Mr. Kelemen -- he has no prior criminal history," said special prosecutor Kevin Croninger. "The nature of the offense, it's the type of offense that frankly, if it wasn't committed by a law enforcement officer, it may never get to the charging level."
"We're not suggesting that (signing Luce up on websites) was a good idea. In fact, it was foolish," said James Birnbaum, Kelemen's attorney. "I think the judge had a nice comment about that... about understanding the context."
Kelemen told investigators he signed political activist Greg Luce up for the sites because he felt Luce and his supporters were harassing his officers with phone calls, emails and other computer issues related to Tea Party protests on an overpass over Interstate-90. In court, prosecutors contended there was no evidence that Luce sent the emails to the department.
That issue dates back to last year when the activists held banners and signs on that overpass, calling for the impeachment of President Obama.
The Town of Campbell police demanded the protesters stop the demonstrations. They said their display on the overpass was a safety concern since it could distract drivers below.
The Tea Party is filing a lawsuit against the town and the Chief Kelemen for violating their right to free speech.
The diversion agreement does not stop Kelemen from filing criminal charges against the people who sent him threat emails or phone calls.
But Judge Rice called Kelemen's actions "juvenile."
"It's the kind of thing you expect high school kids to do when they think someone's abused them," Rice said.
Kelemen remains on paid leave from the Town of Campbell while an outside investigation is conducted. The Town of Campbell attorney said they hope to have the investigation complete by the end of August.
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