Charges amended after investigators find 10,000-plus images of child pornography

EAU CLAIRE — Court documents say investigators found more than 15,000 images of child pornography on three devices owned by a man facing a laundry list of charges.

Wade Hansen, 57, Fall Creek, now faces a 26-count indictment with a dozen charges of possession of child pornography, eight counts of sexual exploitation of a child, multiple counts of incest and a single count of first degree child sexual assault. Many of the charges have an enhancement for being a persistent repeat offender.

The charges stem from an investigation into a case that remains pending in which he is charged with incest and repeated sexual assault of a child. A young relative told police Hansen had sexually assaulted them in 2021.

The criminal complaint says investigators accessed Hansen’s electronic devices as part of the earlier case and found thumbnail images that appeared to be of deleted videos. One device had nearly 700 images of suspected child pornography while another had more than 3,700 such images. A third device had more than 10,700 images of child pornography.

The complaint describes only a dozen of those images, reflecting the 12 counts of possession of child pornography. One of the images included the message “It’s ok to be a pedo.”

An amended complaint was filed earlier this month and a hearing in the case is scheduled for May 28, according to the state’s online courts database.

Hansen’s arraignment in the earlier abuse case took place Wednesday morning. He pleaded not guilty to the amended complaint, and a hearing is scheduled for July 2.