Judge agrees to adjourn child porn case

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 22, 2016

 Defense attorney Stephen Rabaut, left, and defendant Philip Frame, 61, of Shelby Township, right, appear in a courtroom at the 41-A District Court in Shelby Township Feb. 22.

Defense attorney Stephen Rabaut, left, and defendant Philip Frame, 61, of Shelby Township, right, appear in a courtroom at the 41-A District Court in Shelby Township Feb. 22.

Photo by Donna Agusti

Advertisement

On Feb. 22, defendant Philip Frame, 61, of Shelby Township, appeared for his probable cause conference at the 41-A District Court in Shelby Township wearing a leg brace. Defense attorney Stephen Rabaut said his client missed his Jan. 19 court date because he had been hospitalized.

On Feb. 22, Rabaut waived the conference and said his client would stay mute, so visiting municipal Judge Matthew Rumora entered a not guilty plea on Frame’s behalf.

“I have further discovery to review,” Rabaut said. “(Prosecuting attorney William) Harding and I discussed it, and I will arrange for that.”

The court rescheduled Frame’s probable cause conference hearing for 8:30 a.m. April 16.

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.

Following a forensic analysis of Frame’s laptop by the Macomb Area Computer Enforcement team, the prosecution amended its complaint and filed an additional 70 counts of possession of child sexually abusive material against Frame in January.

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 also requested that Rumora modify the conditions of his client’s bond. Currently, Frame’s bond mandates that he not go on the Internet or possess any device capable of accessing the Internet.

Rabaut said his client wished to petition for permission to do email, online banking and check medical portals.

“Since (Frame’s) arrest in this matter, he has been to the hospital six times. He has had some serious medical issues,” Rabaut said. “He does have a smartphone, but it does not have the ability to browse the Internet.”

William Harding, chief of the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office Internet and ID Theft Unit, objected to the bond modification, saying that there was no way to effectively monitor or enforce Frame’s use of the Internet.

“He would be pretty foolish if he started going to those sites again,” Rumora said.

After a brief conference in which both attorneys approached the bench, they agreed to set a bond modification meeting for 1:30 p.m. March 24.

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, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office also said its investigators seized marijuana.

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.

Harding said he did not know the status of the federal investigation.

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.

Advertisement