News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Sex offender charged federally with possessing child pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2012


MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier this week, Jeremy Lee Klepperich, a 28-year-old registered sex offender from Woodland Township in central Minnesota, was charged by way of federal criminal complaint with possessing child pornography. The complaint alleges that between April 21, 2011, and June 2, 2012, Klepperich possessed a computer, thumb drives, and a cell phone that contained visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Klepperich was held in the Wright County, Minnesota, jail until today, when he was transferred to federal custody following his initial appearance in federal court.

The federal charges come on the heels of Klepperich’s 2011 guilty plea in state court in Wright County on one count of possession of pornography by a sex offender. The sentence in that case mandated that Klepperich, whose prison term was stayed, refrain from possessing any drugs, drug paraphernalia, pornography, or other sexually explicit material.

On July 6, 2012, a month after Klepperich was arrested by local law enforcement officers for violating the terms of his 2011 stay of sentence, an unnamed individual informed authorities of a computer thumb drive allegedly belonging to Klepperich that contained child pornography. A subsequent forensic examination of that thumb drive yielded approximately 4,270 images and 56 videos of child pornography. That review led to additional investigation and resulted in the federal charges now filed.

Klepperich’s criminal history includes a 1997 McLeod County, Minnesota, conviction for sexual penetration of the minor female he was babysitting and a 2009 conviction in Hennepin County for failure to register as a predatory offender.

If convicted of the federal charges filed against him, Klepperich faces a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years in prison. Because the federal justice system does not have parole, he will spend virtually his entire sentence behind bars. Of course, all sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Minnesota Cyber Crime Task Force, which is sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Secret Service. Assistance was provided by the Minnesota Department of Corrections, the Hutchinson Police Department, and the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, which is an affiliate of the Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. Provinzino.

Possession of child pornography is against the law. In addition to prosecuting these cases, the Justice Department is presently funding a study focused on the correlation between involvement in child pornography and 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.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab “resources.”

A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.

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