News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Rochester man indicted for distributing, receiving, and possessing child pornography

May 16, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier this week, a 27-year-old Rochester man was indicted in federal court for allegedly distributing and possessing photographs and videos containing child pornography. The indictment, which was filed on May 15, 2012, charges Nathan Paul Severson with one count of receipt of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography. Severson made his initial appearance earlier today in federal court.

The indictment alleges that on January 13, 2011, Severson received via his computer visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In addition, on that date, he allegedly distributed similar depictions through the Internet. Moreover, on January 14, 2011, Severson allegedly possessed more than 11,000 images of similar pornography. The items were found on several computers during the execution of a search warrant of his Rochester residence.

If convicted, Severson faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for both receipt and distribution of child pornography, with a mandatory minimum penalty of five years on each charge. In addition, he faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years for possession of child pornography. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. Provinzino.

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.

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