RACINE COUNTY — The Racine County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday wrapped up its investigation of the Wind Lake Gymnastics Center coach accused of possessing child pornography and placing a hidden recording device in the bathroom of his facility.
After approximately five months of work, the Sheriff’s Office Investigation Bureau has reviewed all digital evidence found on James M. Kivisto’s computer, according to a letter issued by Investigator Kurt Heiser.
“After reviewing the digital evidence, we found that Kivisto was videotaping everyone who entered the bathroom located at the Wind Lake Gymnastic Center,” Heiser wrote.
The letter sent out Tuesday to those affected by the privacy breach stated that Kivisto admitted he looked through the videos he obtained with the hidden camera, saved some of them to his computers and deleted the others.
Early on, the Sheriff’s Office said the initial investigation had turned up more than 100 inappropriate images.
After all the digital evidence was examined, the Sheriff’s Office revealed they had retrieved nearly 200 videos on Kivisto’s computer, which were all taken in the bathroom of the Wind Lake Gymnastics Center, 7923 S. Loomis Road.
The letter stated that as of Tuesday, all individuals the Sheriff’s Office was able to identify from the videos were contacted and notified.
“My professional and hardworking criminal investigative team worked tirelessly and diligently on this very revolting crime by identifying all known innocent child victims in a very strategic, yet sensitive manner,” Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said.
“I’m proud of their efforts, and hope that our criminal justice system does its job and keeps this disgusting pedophile behind bars, where he belongs. The victims and their families deserve justice.”
On March 15, Kivisto, 49, of the 7900 block of South Loomis Road, Wind Lake, was arrested after someone found a hidden camera in a bathroom at Wind Lake Gymnastics Center on March 12 and contacted law enforcement.
Kivisto has worked as the facility’s sole operator and a gymnastics coach since 1987. He also lived in the building.
When he initially appeared in court, Kivisto was charged with 10 felony counts of possession of child pornography. According to the criminal complaint, the charges are related to 10 images found on Kivisto’s hard drive of girls ages of 4 to 15 in sexually suggestive situations. These charges do not appear to be related to footage found at the gymnastics center.
After the Sheriff’s Office looked through the surveillance footage from the gymnastics center, Kivisto netted an additional 34 charges for invasion of privacy with the use of a surveillance device. Eighteen of those charges are felonies, for taping a victim younger than 18 years old.
Each possession of child pornography charge carries a maximum sentence of a $100,000 fine and/or up to 25 years in prison. The minimum sentence includes a $500 surcharge for each image found and initial confinement of at least three years per charge.
Each invasion-of-privacy felony charge involving a child under 18 carries a maximum sentence of a $10,000 fine and/or up to three years and six months in prison. The other invasion-of-privacy charges carry a maximum sentence of $10,000 fine and/or up to nine months in jail.
In May, Kivisto pleaded not guilty to the charges. His next scheduled court appearance is a status conference on Sept. 24 at the Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave.
A final pretrial hearing is scheduled Nov. 16, with a jury trial scheduled for Dec. 11-13.
Prior child pornography arrest
This is apparently not the first time Kivisto has been arrested based on similar accusations. A Glendale Police Department report shows that Kivisto had been arrested for child pornography in 1999.
The report states that a sexually explicit image of three girls with approximate ages of 9 to 11 was printed from a computer Kivisto allegedly used. It was discovered in the tray of a computer at a Brown Deer gymnastics center where Kivisto used to work.
The charges in that case were handed over to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office, which reportedly did not charge Kivisto and instead issued him a municipal citation for disorderly conduct.