Todd Chism exonerated in child pornography case - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Todd Chism exonerated in child pornography case

Todd Chism Todd Chism

STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. - According to a statement from the Steven's County Prosecutor's office, Todd Chism, the firefighter investigated for the possession of child pornography, will not be charged by that office.

During a Tuesday press conference, Washington State Patrol reaffirmed the fact that no evidence of child pornography has been linked to Chism. WSP also said they were unable to identify where the child porn purchased with Chism's credit card was downloaded to and who downloaded it.

The Washington State Patrol acknowledged that child pornography cases are not "black and white," and believe they conducted the investigation properly characterizing it as "an unfortunate chain of events." 

KHQ also learned that the officer in charge of the task force conducting the investigation was removed from that task force and reassigned due to his "performance."


Todd Chism was exonerated because investigators failed to find any evidence he possessed child pornography.  Was Chism treated fairly?  Or was he unfairly persecuted? 

Tell us what you think by clicking HERE.


The 41-year-old Spokane City Fire Lieutenant Todd Chism was arrested January 29th for possession of child pornography. Washington State Patrol detectives made the arrest and searched the Chisms' Stevens County home, seizing their computer among other evidence.

Since his arrest, WSP Spokesperson Bob Calkins has said no child pornography has been found after examining Chism's work computer.

An independent examination of Chism's home computer in March also determined that there was no evidence of child porn on that computers hard drive.


This is a statement that KHQ received from the Stevens County Prosecutor's office:

Statement re: Todd Chism

After a careful review of the investigative material in the matter involving Todd Chism, this office finds no evidence on which to base any charges against him involving possession of child pornography.   The investigative information in regard to any other crimes was conflicting and in view of the overall circumstances of this case, will not be the basis of any criminal charges.

Persons involved in trafficking in child pornography are sometimes highly skilled in masking the locations of the sellers and the purchasers of the material. Hackers can install "proxy" software on a computer and it can be made to appear that persons are involved in the trade who are in reality totally innocent. There is evidence that Todd Chism's credit card information was accessed by an unknown third at some time, and this card information was then used to purchase child pornography.  The forensic examination of the computers obtained from his home in Stevens County did not produce any evidence that child pornography images had been downloaded. There were no child pornography images in media of any kind seized during the search of his home.

Child pornography and the exploitation of children that produces it, is one of the most heinous crimes that Law Enforcement authorities pursue.  It deserves our attention because it damages our most innocent citizens and is related to human trafficking and child slavery. It is easily available through the Internet, but the investigations are difficult because of the anonymous nature of the Internet itself and the fact that our laws are several years behind the times.  Criminals and persons who abuse and exploit children for profit take advantage of the anonymous characteristics of the Internet to market the images. Law enforcement agencies must try to investigate these crimes using procedural methods that were never designed to cope with the sophisticated nature of cyber crimes.

All citizens should applaud the efforts of the Washington State Investigative task force for their zeal and desire to pursue the persons who commit such crimes.  We regret that in this case, the investigation became focused on a person who the evidence, after full analysis, does not show was involved in this heinous trade.

Tune in to KHQ Local News at 5 and 6 for the latest developments in this story.

 

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