Child Porn Criminal Defense News Coverage

Child Porn Suspect Released from Jail

Brooke Meier, The Spinal Column Online

April 29, 2009 - Former Walled Lake Schools Assistant Superintendent for Labor Relations Craig Aleo has been released on a $100,000 personal bond following a hearing in federal court early last week.

Aleo, 63, faces up to 30 years in prison following his arrest at the end of March for allegedly possessing and producing child pornography.

Until early last week, Aleo was being held in the Wayne County Jail. Prosecutors had argued after his arrest that Aleo was a danger to the community. A judge had previously agreed and ordered Aleo to be detained.

"We're pleased that the judge objectively assessed the matter, did not get caught up in the hysteria that often surrounds charges of this nature, and rightly concluded there are conditions of release that will assure Mr. Aleo's appearance and the safety of the community," said John Freeman, Aleo's defense attorney, after Aleo's release from jail.

Included in the reasons for Aleo's previous detainment was a court document that stated there's strong evidence that Aleo coaxed a 5-year-old girl to pose for pornographic pictures with him at his home. Pictures of Aleo with the girl were reportedly found in evidence seized from his house.

Freeman argued for Aleo to be released on Tuesday, April 21. In documents submitted to the court, Freeman stated Aleo is an insulin-dependent diabetic with a series of serious health issues.

According to the document, Aleo had quadruple heart bypass surgery in 2000 and a kidney transplant. Freeman said Aleo has only one functioning kidney, the one transplanted in 2001.

In addition, Aleo reportedly takes 11 medications daily for his heart, kidney, blood pressure and sugar.

"Without vigilant medical treatment on a regular basis, Mr. Aleo will not live," Freeman said.

The document also states Aleo has no prior criminal history and there are no children in his home, neighborhood or surrounding area.

Freeman stated in his argument for Aleo's release that the production of child pornography charge stems from alleged conduct in 2006.

"There is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Aleo constitutes a current threat to children," Freeman said. "Mr. Aleo essentially lives in an area compromised of retirees or semi-retired persons. He does not have contact with children. Home detention, third-party custody and random PTS checks of a sickly 63-year-old defendant with no criminal record will reasonably assure the community's safety."

Aleo was released on bond on April 21 after U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman ordered his release.

Conditions of the bond include Aleo wearing a tether and being confined to his home except for medical appointments; any violations of his bond must be reported to the pre-trial service agency by his wife; Aleo can't have any computers, storage devices or Internet access; the pre-trial service agency can conduct home inspections at any time; all violations must be reported to Judge Friedman immediately; Aleo must surrender his passport; and he can't have any contact with minors.

On March 26, Aleo and his wife were stopped at the border between Canada and New York for a secondary inspection by U.S. Customs agents. During the inspection, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers reportedly found a laptop computer, memory cards and two thumb drives containing 13 apparent child exploitation images and one movie file.

The graphic images and video all contained pre-pubescent females preforming sexual acts.

Following his arrest in New York, a warrant was obtained to search Aleo's home in Davisburg.

The search reportedly uncovered two computers, multiple optical disks and other forms of stored electronic media, including two cameras, allegedly containing more than 100 images of child pornography. The CDs and DVDs recovered also allegedly contained child pornography videos.

Aleo will appear in court on June 9 for a pre-trial conference. Barring any actions dismissing or settling the case through a plea bargain, Aleo is expected to stand trial on June 23.

Aleo had been working for the Walled Lake Consolidated School District as a contract employee during the current school year. He notified the district on Wednesday, April 1 that he was under investigation for federal criminal misconduct including possession of child pornography images, and resigned from his contractual relationship with the district.