Skip to main content
Press Release

Moorhead, MN, Man Sentenced to 17 ½ Years in Federal Prison for Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Child and Distribution of Child Pornography

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

FARGO – Interim United States Attorney Nicholas W. Chase announced that on June 9, 2022, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Peter D. Welte sentenced James Duane Vanraden, age 48, Moorhead, MN, to 17 ½ years in federal prison for Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Child and Distribution of Materials Containing Child Pornography. Chief Judge Welte also sentenced Vanraden to a lifetime period of supervised release.

Investigation revealed that on or about December 4, 2019, and continuing until on or about July 16, 2020, Vanraden attempted to solicit a perceived 10-year-old girl for the purpose of a commercial sex act. Specifically, on December 4, 2019, an Undercover Officer (UC) with law enforcement began a proactive Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) investigation and posted an advertisement on Craigslist searching for a "tutor" for his 10-year-old daughter. Vanraden responded to the Craigslist post and thereafter Vanraden and the UC began communicating via an encrypted platform. Over the ensuing seven months, Vanraden sent the UC child pornography and further arranged to engage in commercial sex with his perceived 10-year-old daughter. Eventually, Vanraden arranged for the UC to receive a $200 payment from a third party via Venmo, a mobile payment application, in exchange for the sexual activity.

On February 8, 2022, Vanraden pleaded guilty to knowingly Attempting Sex Trafficking of Children under the age of 14 and Distributing Materials Containing Child Pornography.

This case was investigated by the West Pargo Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office, with Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Puhl assigned to 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. Attorney’s 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



Terry W. Van Horn 701-297-7458

Updated June 10, 2022