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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

Friday, January 27, 2012

Owatonna Man Pleads Guilty To Producing Child Pornography

MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 46-year-old Owatonna man pleaded
guilty to producing videos and images containing child pornography. Michael William
Sherman pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography. Sherman, who was
indicted on December 5, 2011, entered his plea before United States District Court Judge Ann
D. Montgomery.

In his plea agreement, Sherman admitted that between September and December of 2010,
he enticed and coerced a young boy and girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the
purpose of producing visual depictions of the activity. On January 14, 2011, the items were
found on a computer during the execution of a search warrant at Sherman’s residence. In
addition, images and videos of the two victims were found on Sherman’s cell phone.

For his crime, Sherman faces a potential maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison on
the production charge, with a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years. Judge Montgomery will
determine his sentence at a future hearing.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal
Apprehension, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and the Owatonna Police Department. It is
being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Steinkamp.

Presently, the Justice Department is funding a study concerning the correlation between
involvement in child pornography and the hands-on sexual abuse of children. A 2008 study
(The Butner Study) published in the Journal of Family Violence found that up to 80 percent of
federal inmates incarcerated for possession, receipt, or distribution of child pornography also
admitted to hands-on sexual abuse of children, ranging from touching to rape.

The U.S. Department of Justice is committed to combating the sexual exploitation of
children, particularly via the Internet. In Fiscal Year 2010, 2,235 defendants pleaded guilty to
federal child pornography charges, 2,222 of whom were sentenced to prison. In Fiscal Year
2009, 2,083 defendants were sentenced to prison on child pornography charges. For more
information about these efforts, please visit the Department’s Project Safe Childhood website,

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.



Updated April 30, 2015