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River Falls man charged with 15 counts of child porn possession

Loren E. Rawlings

A Hudson Hospital employee and River Falls resident was arrested and charged with 15 counts of possession of child pornography — charges that call for lifetime supervision of a serious sex offender.

The Pierce County District Attorney's Office alleges 34-year-old Loren E. Rawlings knowingly possessed 484 photos of children in sexually explicit situations on his cellphone and had uploaded 17 child pornography images to Tumblr. A criminal complaint, filed March 5, states Rawlings works as a patient care technician at Hudson Hospital.

Prosecutors modified the charge to seek lifetime supervision upon conviction, alleging the charges represent a serious sex offense that involved sexual arousal or gratification. Besides lifetime supervision, the maximum penalty for each of the offenses is 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Rawlings' initial court appearance was March 5 in Pierce County Circuit Court, where District Attorney Sean Froelich requested a $50,000 cash bond. Pierce County Court Commissioner Jorv Gavic released Rawlings on a $250,000 signature bond.

According to a March 5 criminal complaint:

River Falls police received a CyberTipline Report by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on Dec. 17, 2018, regarding 17 items uploaded to a Tumblr blog appearing to be child pornography. The Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation issued an administrative subpoena to Comcast, which was associated with the IP address, finding the subscriber was Loren Rawlings.

A search warrant for Tumblr was signed and mailed Feb. 25 and River Falls Police also obtained a warrant for Rawlings' 408 N. Winter St. home.

Officers searched Rawlings' home at 8:45 a.m. Feb. 26 and found Rawlings sweating uncontrollably. He said he felt like he was going to "pass out" and was given a glass of water.

Rawlings was transported to the police station to be interviewed while the search was conducted, though Rawlings did not wish to talk to police at that time.

During the search, police found Rawlings' cellphone; his wife gave police both his and her phones and the passcodes.

Three vials of lidocaine, a vial of xylocaine, three pipes, a grinder, a metal pick and a mason jar containing green leafy substance that appeared to be marijuana were located in the garage. Rawlings' wife confirmed no one in the family was on prescription medications.

During a second interview that same day, Rawlings told police about himself, his wife and his residency. He said he worked at Hudson Hospital as a patient care technician and was a certified nursing assistant, mainly assigned to medical surgery with occasional assignments to emergency room or maternity.

When a deputy brought up the topic of pornography, Rawlings got quiet. When a deputy specifically asked about child pornography, Rawlings requested an attorney.

Images from the cellphone were downloaded Feb. 28 at the St. Croix County Forensic Lab. Investigators found 631 files included in the extraction report, with 484 of them portraying child pornography.

Officers arrested Rawlings at his home.

A preliminary hearing for Rawlings's case will be held at 11:30 a.m. May 21 at the Pierce County Courthouse.