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Press Release

Grand Forks Man Sentenced for Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography

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

FARGO - US Attorney Christopher C. Myers announced that on July 12, 2016, Robert William Beattie, 56, Grand Forks, N.D., was sentenced before US District Judge Ralph R. Erickson to serve 12 years in federal prison, followed by a 10-year period of supervised release. Judge Erickson also sentenced Beattie to pay a $200 special assessment to the Crime Victims’ Fund, plus an additional $5,000 special assessment under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.  Beattie will also pay $10,000 in restitution to the victims depicted in the child pornography possessed by him.

“This lengthy sentence should serve as a warning about the consequences facing those involved in downloading child pornography,” said Alex Khu, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, St. Paul, MN. “Every time these images and videos are viewed, the innocent victims depicted in them are violated again.”

This case came to the attention of law enforcement after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) informed the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Department of Homeland Security - Homeland Security Investigations that an IP address geographically located in North Dakota was being utilized to trade child pornography.  A subsequent investigation revealed that the IP address was assigned to Beattie’s office, which was located at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine. Thereafter, law enforcement obtained search warrants for Beattie’s office as well as his personal residence, where they recovered multiple media devices.  A subsequent forensic examination revealed approximately 3,233 images and 100 videos of child pornography depicting children as young as two years of age engaged in sexually explicit conduct. This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security - Homeland Security Investigations, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Grand Forks Police Department, and the University of North Dakota Police Department.

Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Puhl prosecuted the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the nation, Project Safe Childhood, in conjunction with Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), help federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communications systems, or computer technology to sexually exploit children. The ICAC Program is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces engaging in proactive investigations, forensic investigations, and criminal prosecutions.  Project Safe Childhood also helps to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated July 12, 2016

Project Safe Childhood