Yikes: "Drag Queen Story Hour" organizer -- and Milwaukee judge -- arrested on child porn charges

Remember the Drag Queen Story Hour movement, and the debates it touched off in its focus on children? Allies hailed it as a way of promoting tolerance, while opponents suggested it looked more like a grooming movement. At least in one case, the opponents were correct. Police arrested Brett Blomme on Tuesday for possession of child pornography, not even a year after he won a seat on the state bench in Milwaukee (via the Post Millennial):

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Brett Blomme was arrested Tuesday on tentative charges of possession of child pornography, the state Department of Justice announced.

Blomme, 38, was taken into custody by special agents with the state Division of Criminal Investigation “following an investigation into multiple uploads of child pornography through a Kik messaging application account in October and November 2020,” according to a statement. …

A 44-page search warrant filed Friday by a DCI special agent said investigators found Blomme, using the name “dommasterbb,” uploaded 27 videos and images containing child pornography. Two of the files were uploaded at a Milwaukee County government building, the search warrant said.

Who is Brett Blomme? The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel provides the dots, even if they don’t connect them all:

Blomme was elected to the court in the spring 2020 election, defeating incumbent Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Dedinsky, an appointee of former Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Before being elected, Blomme was the head of the board of zoning appeals for the City of Milwaukee, appointed to the post by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and head of the Cream City Foundation, which provides grant money to LGBTQ groups in the Milwaukee area.

CCF certainly does that much, but they do more than just provide grant money. They also organize the city’s Drag Queen Story Hour, in which men dress in drag to read books to children. According to the website, its mission is to provide “a fun and entertaining way to educate all ages about progressive social justice & human growth and development issues through literature and reading.” Why that requires dressing in drag is anyone’s guess, but it has become something of a phenomenon over the last couple of years.

It’s not the first time that this issue has popped up in DQSH. Karen wrote about a case in Houston almost exactly two years ago, in which opponents of the program dug into the background of its participants and discovered that one of them was a sex offender. The Houston Public Library issued an apology afterward, promising that the offender would not be allowed to participate in the future. In this case, however, the accused is one of the program organizers — and at one time, presumably the organizer as the foundation president.

Of course, just because Blomme has been accused in a child-pornography case, it doesn’t mean everyone involved in DQSH has bad intentions. But it still raises a lot of questions about why children have to get exposed to sexualized acting out just to hear stories read to them in libraries. This program has always seemed more aimed at benefiting the men reading the stories by building up public sympathy for themselves and their own cause than helping children learn to read. Blomme makes that perception all the more sharp.

Update: Blomme and his husband have two adoptive children, and CPS is now involved — although the images do not involve their children:

The couple has two adopted children. Court records do not suggest they are part of any of the illegal images. Child Protective Services is involved with their current placement, defense attorney Christopher Van Wagner said during the court hearing. …

Investigators were tipped via the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a user called “DomMasterbb” had used the messaging and chat app known as Kik to send suspected child pornography.

State investigators, led by Special Agent Tamar Taubel of the Division of Criminal Investigations, later tied the account to Blomme via his personal and work emails, and searches were eventually done at the home in Cottage Grove, another in Milwaukee and at the judge’s chambers.

The case marked at least the second time agents investigating child pornography executed a search warrant at Children’s Court. In 2018, they seized the computer of a longtime staff attorney at Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, which provides guardian ad litem services at the county. The lawyer, Michael Vruno, resigned but was never charged with a crime.