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MADISON SCHOOL DISTRICT | FORMER MSCR DIRECTOR

Ex-Madison School District recreation director guilty of possessing child porn, gets 3 years in prison

The former executive director of the Madison School District’s recreation division was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography in 2019.

“I’m ashamed about what happened,” said Jacob Tisue, who led Madison School & Community Recreation from 2017 until his departure after his arrest, before he was sentenced by Circuit Judge Nicholas McNamara. “I apologize to my community. I was a community leader. I’m totally flabbergasted I would go down that hole.”

Tisue, 47, of McFarland, was arrested on Aug. 29, 2019, after investigators followed a July 22 tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which led police to a Yahoo account used by Tisue. He was charged with 12 counts of possessing child pornography.

Under a plea agreement, Tisue pleaded guilty to one count and the remainder were dismissed. Under state law, child pornography possession carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison, which Deputy District Attorney William Brown sought, along with Tisue’s lawyer, Mark Eisenberg. Tisue will also serve three years of extended supervision after his release and will be placed on the state’s Sex Offender Registry.

Tisue was also ordered to pay a $500 surcharge for the image he was convicted of possessing.

McNamara said that while there’s no evidence Tisue produced or distributed child pornography himself, the crime is still serious because it perpetuates the abuse of children depicted in the images, often while they’re experiencing the worst trauma of their lives.

“People will continue to do this because they know men like you want to see this,” McNamara said.

“If that’s where you were headed, if that’s where you were,” McNamara said, “then what else about you do we need to be concerned about? That you could lose that much perspective, your soul, we need to be concerned about, because that’s not safe.”

Jacob Tisue

Tisue

According to a criminal complaint, when Tisue was confronted by investigators at his office at MSCR on Madison’s Near West Side, he said he found them on the blogging site Tumblr and downloaded them to his cellphone and emailed them to himself. He apologized to the officers, the complaint states, and said his searches for young women in bikinis had “escalated” into viewing sexually explicit images of girls.

Brown said those images, once they get onto the internet, are nearly impossible to scrub, so the victims of child pornography are constantly re-victimized. Some are even stalked by obsessed users who manage to identify them and seek them out. He said Tisue was not one of those people.

Eisenberg, conceding that the law mandates at least a three-year prison sentence, said he still finds it troubling that those who commit hands-on sexual offenses against children are allowed to seek probation, but someone like Tisue cannot.

Most of those convicted of possessing child pornography are not hands-on offenders, he said, but people who “went down the wrong path and are looking at this crap.”

Tisue, he said, was one of those, and needs treatment in the community, where it’s better and more easily available, rather than in prison, where it is not.


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