Judge says Vaile fueled child porn market
By Scott Bellile
Family members of a former Hortonville village administrator gasped and shed tears after learning Patrick Vaile will spend eight years in prison for one count of possession of child pornography on Friday, Aug. 7.
Outagamie County Judge Vince Biskupic sentenced Vaile, 61, to eight years behind bars and another eight years on extended supervision. He will also pay $20,000 in fines for 40 pornographic images.
“It’s my desire that while you’re in prison you do get access to treatment,” Biskupic said.
The 16-year sentence exceeds the 12 years recommended by the prosecution and defense. Both had agreed upon Vaile serving five years in prison and seven on extended supervision.
Vaile was village administrator for Hortonville from March 2011 to February 2015. On Feb. 10 he was arrested at home following a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Authorities seized a flash drive and two boxes of printouts containing an estimated 2,200 images of nude children, some showing everyday nudism situations and others displaying sexual abuse.
Vaile was initially charged with 16 counts of possession of child pornography. The counts pertained to a collage of 16 images showing a prepubescent girl bound and enduring sexual abuse by an adult male. Vaile’s charges were reduced to one count after he pleaded no contest on July 30.
Biskupic stated Friday that the court adjourned for eight days after the plea hearing because he needed documentation explaining why Vaile wasn’t charged for child porn found on his computer while he worked in planning and zoning for Shawano County in August 2001. Biskupic said he wanted to factor past criminal activity into Vaile’s sentence while also ensuring he wouldn’t sentence Vaile based on inaccurate information.
Although Biskupic said he received documents during the weeklong break, the answer to what happened in Shawano County remained unclear. Biskupic said possibilities included a lack of evidence, the case slipped through the cracks or a district attorney handling the matter retired.
Vaile was interrogated in 2001 but nothing appeared to happen beyond that. Investigators noted in records that Vaile was shaking and red in the face.
Vaile told the court an interrogator had tried to get him to confess to the porn in 2001 but he refused. The interrogator indicated to him that it would be hard for authorities to prove that accusation at hand otherwise.
Biskupic said Vaile’s lucky break in Shawano County should have inspired him to quit viewing child porn rather than taking more risks.
“It’s not even a stretch to think that there was an opportunity … to do something about it,” Biskupic said.
Biskupic said he considered a number of factors when sentencing Vaile, including his educational background, career accomplishments, cooperation with investigators and his family’s pleas for a lenient sentence. The overwhelming factor to Biskupic was Vaile’s continued viewing after 2001.
“You alone missed an opportunity to change the path of your life,” Biskupic said. “I’m sorry it didn’t happen.”
Hortonville Police Chief Mike Sullivan said Monday, Aug. 10, that the village is satisfied the case has come to an end.
“This was a very troublesome chapter that is finally closed, and the public can rest easier knowing Vaile is incarcerated,” Sullivan said. “Local and state law enforcement did an excellent job working in collaboration on obtaining a conviction. As a community we can move forward and the children will be safer with one less predator in the public realm.”
Although Vaile admitted to investigators in February 2015 that he felt an attraction toward a preteen girl he saw at work, he never acted upon his sexual urges toward children.
However, Biskupic said at the Friday sentencing Vaile poses a threat to children. Vaile would not be the type to leap out at children from behind the bushes, Biskupic said, but he was a dangerous consumer in the child porn network.
“You create the market along with many others, which sends a message back to the distributors,” Biskupic said.
Child porn is a permanent record of a sexual abuse toward a child, Biskupic said, and every download counts.
“Each time you did that, a child was re-victimized,” Biskupic said.
“Those kids exist,” Biskupic said.
Biskupic told Vaile in most cases he sees people escape their stressors through alcohol, drugs or gambling.
“It’s hard for me to understand how the escape [here] was child pornography,” Biskupic said.