Child porn suspect does not appear in court due to hospitalization

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published January 19, 2016

 Defense attorney Stephen Rabaut, left, and Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Internet and ID Theft Unit William Harding, right, stand before Judge Douglas Shepherd at the 41-A District Court in Shelby Township Jan. 19.

Defense attorney Stephen Rabaut, left, and Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Internet and ID Theft Unit William Harding, right, stand before Judge Douglas Shepherd at the 41-A District Court in Shelby Township Jan. 19.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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On Jan. 19, defendant Philip Frame, 61, of Shelby Township, did not appear for his probable cause hearing at the 41-A District Court in Shelby Township. Defense attorney Stephen Rabaut said his client was not in court because he had been hospitalized.

Frame was arrested Jan. 1 and charged with five counts of possession of child sexually abusive material, one count of using a computer to commit a crime and a misdemeanor for possessing marijuana.

Possession of child sexually abusive material is a four-year felony. Using a computer to commit a crime carries a potential seven-year prison term.

Rabaut presented Judge Douglas Shepherd correspondence from a medical doctor to verify his client’s hospitalization.

“I have been in constant contact with Mr. Frame during the course of his hospital stay, and the doctor indicates that he’s not sure of the discharge date,” Rabaut said.

William Harding, chief of the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office Internet and ID Theft Unit, said the prosecution filed an amended complaint against Frame due to additional discovery.

Harding told C & G Newspapers that, due to evidence unearthed by forensic analysis of Frame’s laptop by the Macomb Area Computer Enforcement team, the prosecution filed 70 additional counts of possession of child sexually abusive material against Frame.

“The defendant will have to be arraigned on those additional counts,” he said.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office Computer Crimes Unit received a tip in mid-December from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children that pornographic images of children had been uploaded to an IP address registered to Frame’s residence.

After an approximately two-week investigation, Macomb Area Computer Enforcement detectives searched Frame’s home, located near 26 Mile and Mound roads, and arrested Frame Jan. 1. They seized printed and electronic pornographic images of children, as well as marijuana, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

On Jan. 2, Frame posted his $10,000 cash or surety bond and was released from the Macomb County Jail.

In September 2015, the Department of Homeland Security Searched Frame’s home after an investigation into child pornography, and evidence was confiscated at that time, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Wickersham said earlier this month that he did not know the status of the federal investigation, but his office was trying to get more information.

Frame formerly held the position of director of the Macomb County Office of Public Affairs. The office shut down in September 2009 as a result of layoffs.

Rabaut declined to comment on the specifics of the case.

The court rescheduled Frame’s probable cause hearing to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 23.

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