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Waukesha man accused of child porn possession

Complaint says man, 59, also filmed his 14-year-old niece without her knowledge

Aug. 19, 2014

A 59-year-old Waukesha man allegedly downloaded several illegal, pornographic videos of children for years because he had a "morbid curiosity" about them.

Michael Harpe, 3015 Minot Lane, was charged on Wednesday, Aug. 13, in Waukesha County Circuit Court with ten felony counts of child porn possession.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint, a detective traced the IP address of a computer downloading the videos in late June to Harpe's Minot Lane address.

Waukesha police executed a search warrant on Harpe's residence on Tuesday, Aug. 11, and found numerous child pornography videos on an external hard drive and Harpe's cellphone.

Some of the children in the videos were described in the complaint as "toddler-aged."

There were two more videos on the phone, reportedly shot by Harpe in his home, showing Harpe's 14-year-old niece walking around a hot tub, seemingly unaware that she was being recorded.

Harpe told police he became curious about child pornography after his cousin was imprisoned in California for child molestation, the complaint says.

He also said in the complaint that he believes adults engage in sexual activity with children because adults can control children and "brainwash them."

He added that he loved to watch "pretty, young girls just like everyone else does," and that he preferred the girls who were 6 to 9 years old, according to the complaint.

A Waukesha detective noted in the complaint that Harpe was very "matter-of-fact" when discussing his child porn collection and did not appear remorseful or concerned at any time during his police interview.

Harpe reportedly said his interest in child pornography was similar to the curiosity of people who slow down to see the aftermath of an accident.

Court Commissioner Laura Lau ordered Harpe to be held at the county jail on a $100,000 cash bond.

His next court hearing is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 22.

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