Convicted Missouri Cop Blamed Police Job for Child Pornography Addiction

Missouri cop

On Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022, Ex-Maryland Heights Police Officer Nicholas H. Haglof, 30, was sentenced to four years in prison for viewing hundreds of child pornography images. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Nicholas Henry Haglof, the Missouri cop who confessed to viewing hundreds of images of kids being sexually abused, blamed his child pornography addiction on his job as a police officer.

“The irregular work schedule, tough working conditions, interaction with people in stressful conditions, and the ever-present backdrop that any day he could be confronted with a life-or-death situation all added to the problem,” Haglof’s attorney, Daniel A. Juengel, wrote in a pitch for a reduced sentence. “These issues did not just go away as Nick hoped they would. So, he turned to more porn and pills and alcohol.”

On Thursday, Aug. 25, in St. Louis, US District Judge Henry Edward Autrey sentenced the ex-Maryland Heights Police officer to four years behind bars. He also ordered Haglof, 30, to pay $3,000 in restitution to each of the three victims who could be identified from the 421 illicit images the cop viewed in 2019 and 2020. He also must remit $5,000 to the government under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.

Arrested on July 31, 2020, shortly after being fired from his job as a cop, Haglof inked a plea deal with federal prosecutors on May 16, 2022. That agreement capped his prison sentence at four years, but it also mandated Haglof register as a convicted sex offender.

Missouri cop

Nicholas Henry Haglof was fired from his job as a cop for the Maryland Heights Police Department in Missouri before being arrested by St. Louis County Police detectives and FBI special agents on July 31, 2020. He received special protections as a terminated police officer while in custody. Redacted image from St. Louis County.

The case against Haglof began on Nov. 12, 2019, two days after Microsoft Online Operations reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a laptop computer user of its Bing search engine had found multiple images depicting the sexual abuse of a prepubescent girl two days earlier.

Although Haglof told investigators he didn’t own a laptop, his wife said he did, and authorities seized it. At the time, Haglof was an officer at the Maryland Heights Police Department and had used the same computer to access St. Louis County and the Municipal Police Academy websites.

A search of his laptop revealed he’d viewed hundreds of other images depicting the sexual abuse of both prepubescent girls and boys.

During his interrogation, Haglof confessed he’d been viewing child pornography since “probably right out of high school.” He told detectives he felt guilty about that and tried to “put it out of my mind,” but he was “into girls that are obviously younger than the norm” and that “some of the gals are just better to look at than older gals,” according to court records.

Missouri cop

Founded on Aug. 16, 1985, Missouri’s Maryland Heights Police Department safeguards the lives and property of nearly 30,000 residents of the St. Louis suburb. Maryland Heights Police Department photo.

With Haglof’s guilty plea out of the way, his attorneys and prosecutors began sparring over how much time he’d spend in prison. Haglof’s lawyers pushed for a lifetime of supervised release, with no jail time.

Armed with letters from Haglof’s parents — prominent St. Louis attorneys — they sketched a portrait of the convicted cop as a confused middle child who suffered from an extreme version of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and struggled as a student at St. Louis Community College and Southeast Missouri State University, where he studied public relations.

Charged with driving under the influence while an undergrad, the 19-year-old Haglof vowed to get sober. He considered enlisting in the military but instead turned toward a career in law enforcement. In 2016, he graduated at the top of his Eastern Missouri Police Academy class and was assigned to the corrections division of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, where he was named “Rookie of the Year.”

Missouri cop

Founded on Aug. 16, 1985, Missouri’s Maryland Heights Police Department safeguards the lives and property of nearly 30,000 residents of the St. Louis suburb. Maryland Heights Police Department photo.

Haglof then joined the Maryland Heights Police Department and seemed to be doing well as a beat cop, but he began to battle bouts of sleeplessness, heavy drinking, and an Adderall addiction that helped him stay alert on the job.

To Haglof, viewing child pornography while drunk became a “coping mechanism,” one he’d been using since college, according to the pre-sentencing filing.

“Nick knew this was wrong and after each viewing he would delete what he downloaded,” Juengel wrote. “But he let this problem go unaddressed and hid it under the surface.”

Haglof’s parents and Juengel told the judge that Haglof had remained sober since his 2020 arrest and underwent intensive psychotherapy to curb his demons.

But federal prosecutors wanted him to do a four-year stretch, the max sentence under his plea deal. And the judge agreed with them.

It remains unclear whether Haglof has been remanded to federal custody. Neither he nor his attorneys responded to Coffee or Die Magazine‘s requests for comment.

Read Next: Kentucky Woman Who Pepper-Sprayed Cops Becomes Convicted Felon

Carl came to Coffee or Die Magazine after stints at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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