News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Rochester man sentenced for distributing child pornography

November 20, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS—Today in federal court, a 27-year-old Rochester man was sentenced for distributing a video containing child pornography. United States District Judge David S. Doty sentenced Nathan Paul Severson to 180 months in federal prison on one count of distribution of child pornography. Judge Doty also ordered Severson to pay $2,253 in restitution. Severson, who was indicted on May 15, 2012, pleaded guilty on July 18, 2012.  

Following today’s sentencing, Michael Feinberg, Special Agent in Charge of the St. Paul Field Office for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations said, “Anyone who sexually exploits children will learn that Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) and our law enforcement partners will hold them accountable for their despicable actions. Our HSI Special Agents work tirelessly to investigate child predators that victimize the most vulnerable members of our society.”

In his plea agreement, Severson admitted that on January 13, 2011, he distributed via his computer a visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In addition, Severson admitted that at that time, he possessed approximately 11,600 images and 430 videos of child pornography, some of which portrayed sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence. Officials found the images and videos on a computer and several hard drives during the execution of a search warrant at Severson’s Rochester residence.

This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. Provinzino.

Distribution 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 For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab “resources.”

Return to Top















Return to Top

harvest picture

Read about Tribal Justice

Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nationwide commitment to reducing gun crime in America.


Project Exile: Joint effort to reduce gun violence in Minneapolis.


Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.


Ways you can help children cope with the impact of exposure to violence.

Stay Connected: Visit us on Facebook or Twitter

Facebook Twitter
USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Justice 101