Cottage Grove Woman Convicted By Jury Of Producing Pornographic Images Of A Child
Roxanne Merrell promised $100,000 to send obscene photos of young girl
United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the conviction of ROXANNE MERRELL, 35, for making pornographic images of a pre-pubescent girl. MERRELL was convicted by a jury of the entire indictment against her after a three-day trial before Senior Judge David S. Doty in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minn. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
As proven at trial, Travis Guenthner of Washburn, North Dakota, who was convicted in May 2014 in the District of North Dakota of multiple counts of production of child pornography and other child exploitation offenses, knew ROXANNE MERRELL. Guenthner offered MERRELL $100,000 to take pornographic photos of a young girl, which MERRELL took while the child was sleeping. Other pictures of the child’s naked buttocks and clothed pubic area were also discovered on Guenthner’s computer. The photographs, some of which included an image of an adult hand, were later discovered on Guenthner’s computer. The adult hand appearing in the photos belonged to MERRELL.
“HSI is committed to aggressively pursuing those individuals who trade in child pornography,” said HSI St. Paul Special Agent in Charge J. Michael Netherland. "It is our job to do everything that we can to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice 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, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Cottage Grove Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katharine T. Buzicky and Sarah E. Hudleston are prosecuting the case.
ROXANNE MERRELL, 35
Cottage Grove, Minn.
• Production of Child Pornography, 2 counts