By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A Quincy man will avoid jail time on a child pornography charge if the judge agrees to the parameters set forth in a plea agreement.
Earl F. Wierschem Jr., 46, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to indecent solicitation of a child as part of a plea agreement between Adams County Assistant State's Attorney Anita Rodriguez and Denny Woodworth, who is Wierschem's lawyer. The amended charge is a Class 4 felony, which would carry a sentence of between one and three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, one year of parole and a fine up to $25,000. Under the agreement, Wierschem would receive probation and couldn't be sentenced to more than 60 days of home confinement. All other terms and conditions of the sentence are up to Judge William Mays. Wierschem will have to register as a sex offender.
As the result of the plea negotiations, a Class 1 felony charge of child pornography was dismissed.
Mays is the second judge to hear the case. In October, Judge Scott Walden refused to accept the negotiated plea, which was similar to what the sides agreed to Wednesday. Sentencing is set for Jan. 10.
Wierschem was arrested in November 2011 as the result of an investigation that started in 2008 in California.
Rodriguez said Wierschem set up an Internet alias, portraying a 16-year-old from Illinois named Rick Wayne. Rodriguez said Wierschem used the alias on a MySpace account as well as on Yahoo Messenger. From 2007 to 2008, Rodriguez said Wierschem carried on a conversation with a teenage girl from Milipatis, Calif. Rodriguez said Wierschem asked the girl to send him nude photos of herself and he would do the same. The girl sent him five nude photos of herself.
"(Wierschem) asked her if she was a virgin and told her that he wanted to take away her virginity," Rodriguez said during her reading of the statement of facts. Sher also said Wierschem told the girl that he wanted to perform oral sex on her.
The girl's mother eventually found the emails, Rodriguez said, and contacted the Milipatis Police Department. Wierschem used two email accounts to communicate with the victim. He was arrested by Quincy police on Nov. 22, 2011. A computer was seized at Wierschem's residence in the 600 block of South 21st. Communication between Wierschem and the victim, Rodriguez said, was found on the computer in the residence, as well as communication between Wierschem and other underage girls. Rodriguez said Wierschem used a random photo that he found on the Internet to use as the profile photo on his MySpace page.
Wierschem has been free on bond since posting 10 percent of a $4,500 bail on Nov. 28, 2011.