News and Press Releases

Grand Forks Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charges

April 3, 2012

FARGO - U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on April 3, 2012, Howard Fjeld of Grand Forks, N.D., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Erickson to possessing and receiving materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

Fjeld, 46, pleaded guilty to the charges after members of the International Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force downloaded 26 image files from a computer located in Fjeld’s residence. Law enforcement later obtained a search warrant to search Fjeld’s residence where they seized various electronic media containing child pornography. Eventually, the electronic media was forensically examined by the N.D. Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The forensic examination revealed more than 1500 images of children, including infants, engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

The incident occurred during June of 2011 in the District of North Dakota.

The charge of possession of materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment. The charge of receipt of materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors carries a statutory minimum mandatory sentence of five years’ imprisonment and a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as a part of Project Safe Childhood, 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 U.S.Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit

Sentencing for Fjeld has been scheduled for July 9, 2012, in U.S. District Court in Fargo, N.D., at 9 a.m.



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