Exonerated firefighter Todd Chism files four tort claims against WSP totaling $20 million - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Exonerated firefighter Todd Chism files four tort claims against WSP totaling $20 million

SPOKANE, Wash.- Todd Chism has filed a lawsuit against the Washington State Patrol stemming from his arrest on suspicion of possession of child pornography on January 29th of this year.

Chism's attorney, Bob Dunn, filed four tort claims against WSP Tuesday morning. One tort is for Chism, one for Chism's wife Nicole, and one for each of their two children. Chism's tort claim is 12 million dollars, his wife's is 6 million dollars and each claim for their kids is one million dollars.

Investigators failed to find any evidence that Chism possessed child pornography and those charges were dropped.

Below is a statement from the Steven's County Prosecutor's office KHQ received following Chism's exoneration earlier this year:

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.

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