Butler police lieutenant accused of photographing stripper while on duty

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by Chris Patterson

BUTLER -- 37-year-old Brian Pergande is facing felony misconduct charges for allegedly photographing a stripper's cleavage while on-duty at the Butler Police Department.

According to the criminal complaint, Pergande went to Encore Gentleman's Club on September 8, 2009. Pergande went to the establishment escorted by Milwaukee police officers to arrested a woman on a municipal warrant. The complaint says the woman wasn't fully dressed when Pergande found her, and took her to a dressing room so she could get fully dressed.

The alleged victim says Pergande took her to the Butler Police Department using his squad car. The victim says Pergande allegedly took several photos of her at the station. Investigators with the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department found four photos of the victim on Pergande's computer. Pergande admitted to taking two of those pictures, but did not "100% recall" the other two. The criminal complaint says the four photos found were all focused on the victim's cleavage.

The criminal complaint outlined several current and former members of the Butler Police Department who said no booking occurs inside their police department. The complaint says suspects are typically booked at the county jail. Officers say low staffing during the evening hours is common, which makes booking a suspect unsafe for the law enforcement officer. 

People who worked at the police department at the time of the alleged crime say the photos looked like they were taken inside the old booking room. Former Butler Police Chief Michael Cosgrove says the photos taken at the Butler police station typically document injuries sustained during an assault.

In the criminal complaint, the victim also told investigators Pergande said he found a straw with cocaine residue in her purse. She said Pergande instructed her to call him when she got out of jail or he'd cite her with possession of drug paraphernalia. No record of this drug laced straw was filed by Pergande. The criminal complaint says he admitted to investigators he should have filed a report regarding the alleged drug paraphernalia. 

The victim says she called the phone number given to her by Pergande, but after serving 52 days in jail she showed clear signs of pregnancy. She alleges the drug officer she called would not work with her. The victim told police she never heard from Pergande after that. While being interviewed by county investigators, Pergande alleges he asked the victim to work with the West Allis Police Drug Unit.

If convicted of misconduct, Pergande could serve up to three and a half years in prison.

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