• Last modified 287 days ago (Oct. 11, 2023)


Feds add to ex-cop’s charges

Staff writer

Federal child pornography charges have been filed — on top of charges in Butler County District Court — against former Marion County deputy, Burns police chief, and Butler County jailer Joel J. Womochil, 38.

Womochil, El Dorado, originally was charged Aug. 16 in Butler County with 13 counts of sexual exploitation of a child. Those charges were amended in September to add 21 additional counts, including 10 counts of aggravated Internet trading in child pornography and 11 counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

On Thursday, Womochil was charged in federal court with knowingly receiving child pornography and possession of child pornography.

Each federal charge could result in a sentence of between five and 20 years in prison. He also could also be fined $250,000, and assessed as much as $40,100.

His Butler County charges were amended a second time Sept. 26, removing the aggravated Internet trading counts.

Womochil’s status at the Sedgwick County Detention Center was changed Monday to “hold for federal” after charges were filed in federal court.

According to Butler County’s complaint, Womochil had brief videos on his computer that showed children who appeared to be younger than 10 years old — some as young as infants —engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Womochil was a Marion County deputy from March 2020 until November 2022. He resigned Aug. 8 as police chief for Burns. A complaint filed in the case alleges that he was in possession of the videos from Aug. 9 to 25.

“I find it necessary to step down at this juncture,” Womochil wrote in a resignation letter he handed to Burns city council members Aug. 8 and read aloud. “Recent events have made me reflect on my responsibilities as a leader and the impact my decisions have on the lives of others.”

El Dorado police department, where Womochil’s girlfriend, Kaitlin Brunner, works, is the lead investigating agency.

Brunner is a former Peabody police officer who resigned in November, 2022, after Peabody’s mayor told former chief Bruce Burke to clean up drug houses no matter whether the means were legal or illegal.Peabody Fall Festival

Last modified Oct. 11, 2023