(Dec. 4, 2020) Former Ocean City police officer and sheriff’s deputy Jarrett “Jay” Wise, 53, who pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of child pornography, was granted probation before judgement on Wednesday.
During a September hearing at the Worcester County Circuit Court in Snow Hill, Dorchester State’s Attorney Doug Jones told the court that on or around May 10, 2019, the Internet Task Force Program, a national child abuse and exploitation investigation network, sent a tip to the Worcester County Bureau of Investigations (WCBI) to investigate Wise.
Jones said that the Federal Bureau of Investigations received a similar tip and coordinated with county investigators.
The bureau of investigations obtained a subpoena for Comcast records that showed two IP addresses connected to Wise’s home and business computers. Investigators also discovered images and videos of child pornography in Wise’s email.
The emails related to the September hearing were dated Sept. 30 and Oct. 6, 2018, and contained short videos of young children engaging in sexual activity with adult women.
On or around June 25, 2019, investigators, who were armed with a search warrant, met with Wise, who waived his Miranda Rights and admitted to possessing the child pornography.
Wise was indicted on Jan. 28, and was arrested the following Friday.
He was charged with five felony counts of promoting and distributing child pornography, as well as 50 misdemeanor counts of possession of child pornography.
He was held in the Worcester County Jail in Snow Hill until he posted a $25,000 bond following a hearing on Feb. 3, in Worcester County Circuit Court.
One condition of his release was a prohibition on using computers or similar devices.
As part of his plea deal, Wise waived his right to a jury trial and pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of child pornography possession, which are punishable of up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500 or both. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered, with the sentencing date contingent upon those findings.
With Wednesday’s decision by Judge Thomas Groton, however, Wise will walk away more or less a free man — as long as he complies with his probation terms for the next two years, no convictions will be entered on his record.
Additionally, Wise will not have to register as a sex offender during nor after his probation term.
“In this case, the state recommended a sentence consisting of a period of incarceration, suspending that period of incarceration down to what is effectively a time-served sentence, crediting him for time he has served awaiting trial,” Jones told Ocean City Today.
Jones said the state also recommended that as a condition of probation that he continue with treatment as recommended, and register as a tier one sex offender.
“The defense asked that Mr. Wise be granted probation before judgment. Based upon Mr. Wise’s background and other information presented to the court, Mr. Wise was granted probation before judgment by the court,” Jones said. “While the state did not recommend or request the probation before judgment, that is within the purview of the court, and the state respects the decision of the court.”
Jones also lauded the efforts made by state police during the investigation.
“I do want to note the great work of the Maryland State Police in this matter,” Jones said. “This case was investigated by true professionals who are a great asset to our community.”