Metro-East News

Waterloo man arrested for child porn already faced child sex charges

It was the estranged wife of a Waterloo man that led investigators to find more than 5,000 pictures and 80 videos of child pornography.

Illinois Attorney General Investigator Tom Berola testified on Monday afternoon in Benjamin Harbaugh’s bond reduction hearing. Harbaugh is facing aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges in Perry County in connection with the molestation of a 13-year-old boy. During Monday’s hearing, Berola recounted the interview with Harbaugh’s estranged wife, Emily.

“She told me that he bragged to her that he was glad he got the chance to do it again,” Berola told Associate Judge Christopher Kolker.

Emily Harbaugh went to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and told them she had seen the images on her husband’s computer.

Harbaugh was arrested Thursday on child pornography charges in Monroe County. He was released on Thursday night after posting 10 percent of $100,000 bail, or $10,000. At the time of his arrest, Harbaugh was free after posting $5,000 or 10 percent of $50,000 bail on the Perry County charges.

On Saturday, Circuit Judge Daniel Emgee raised Harbaugh’s bail to $500,000 and he was re-arrested. Jeff Hammel, Harbaugh’s attorney, filed a motion to reduce the bond before Kolker, the presiding judge in the case. Hammel noted that Harbaugh was not likely a flight risk and he was entitled to bond. Hammel also told the judge that Harbaugh could be placed on home confinement. Harbaugh’s mother, who attended the hearing, was disabled, Hammel noted, and he assisted her around the home.

Kolker denied the request to lower the bail, noting one of the conditions of the Perry County bond was that Harbaugh could not violate the law.

State records showed that Harbaugh applied for and received a permanent employee registration card in 2010. The license which is issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, allows someone to work as an unarmed employee of licensed private detective, private alarm contractor, private security force or locksmith in Illinois. Harbaugh did not renew his license in 2012.

Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing asked parents of children who may have had recent contact with Harbaugh to call the sheriff’s department at 618-939-8651.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer

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