Firefighter Battles To Clear His Name

SPOKANE — The Spokane firefighter accused of buying child pornography on the internet is continuing his fight to clear his name.

Lieutenant Todd Chism has gone to court to show the Washington State Patrol did not have good reason to search his home and still has found no evidence of any wrong doing.

The Washington State Patrol is going to great lengths to block the release of what detectives have found or not found in this case. Unfortunately while attorneys battle over what is routinely made public Todd Chsim is left looking guilty when he may be innocent.

The State Patrol has a special unit that travels the state busting people who exploit or kidnap children and earlier this year troopers arrested Chism for allegedly trying to purchase child pornography.

The day before the same unit searched Chism’s house and even secured his fire station computer, looking for evidence Chism had bought child pornography on line.

“We know we have a client did nothing and there’s no evidence on the computer and we’re anxious for them to go through the computer,” Chism’s attorney Carl Oreskovich said.

After weeks of waiting, Chism’s attorneys – Carl Oreskovich and Susan Troppman – decided to do their own investigation. They went to court and got an exact copy of all the data state troopers had found on Chism’s wife’s computer. That mirror image was handed over to a Spokane company that specializes in searching computer files.

However as a condition of getting the files in the first place Chism is barred from making public whether he’s in the clear or not.

State Patrol officials say they are still searching other data and are not ready to clear or implicate Chism, who says the person who really bought the kiddy porn was using a stolen credit card number.

On the Chism’s website his wife wrote, “[I]f they are linking these charges through our Bank of America card how could they have not done the most basic research and known this card number had to be changed four times in the last year due to fraud?”

Yet State Patrol officials defend their tactics saying the search first and ask questions later practice is the only way to keep evidence from being destroyed.

“You need to act quickly, get that best evidence, get that information,” Lt. Chris Gunderman with the Washington State Patrol said. “Obviously that’s viewed as being intrusive, and it does catch people off guard but it’s necessary in computer investigations.”

Late Tuesday afternoon Chism’s attorneys filed a motion asking the court for permission to make public the results of that independent forensic search of the Chism’s computer.