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Press Release

Elk River Man Sentenced To 17 Years In Prison For Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the sentencing of JOHN EDWIN KUHNEL, 41, to 204 months in prison for receipt and possession of child pornography. KUHNEL, who was convicted at trial on January 7, 2020, was sentenced earlier today before Chief Judge John R. Tunheim in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“Despite the many challenges this past year has presented, my office has not lost sight of our commitment to bringing child predators to justice. Prosecuting cases involving child exploitation remains a top priority,” said United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald.

As proven at trial, between January 3, 2016, and November 29, 2016, KUHNEL, while under supervision for a previous conviction for criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, knowingly received and possessed more than 33,000 image and video files depicting sexually explicit conduct involving minors.

This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Manda M. Sertich and Emily A. Polachek tried the case.

Defendant Information:


Elk River, Minn.


  • Receipt of child pornography, 9 counts
  • Possession of child pornography, 2 counts


  • 204 months in prison
  • 15 years of supervised release




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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600


Updated October 23, 2020

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