Big Lake man pleads guilty to producing child pornography
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 31, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS—Yesterday in federal court in St. Paul, a 47-year-old Big Lake man
pleaded guilty to producing videos of child pornography. Joel Grogan Zigler pleaded guilty to
one count of production of child pornography. Zigler, who was indicted on September 20,
2011, entered his plea before United States District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson.
In his plea agreement, Zigler admitted that on October 15 and 16, 2010, he induced minors
to engage in sexually explicit conduct, recording it with a digital camcorder. The videos were
produced in a Hibbing motel room. The videos, camcorder, and various media were seized from
Zigler’s parents’ residence, where Zigler was staying, during the execution of a search warrant.
Judge Nelson will determine his sentence at a future hearing. This case is the result of an
investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Hibbing Police
Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin S. Ueland.
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,
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