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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bismarck, North Dakota Man Pleads Guilty to Receipt of Child Pornography


United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that Michael David Rivera, age 29, of Bismarck, North Dakota, appeared before U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Erickson on January 26, 2017, in Fargo, North Dakota, and made his initial appearance, and pled guilty to the Indictment that charged him with Receipt of Images Depicting the Sexual Exploitation of Minors.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is a mandatory minimum of 5 years up to 20 years of imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine, at least 5 years up to life of supervised release, a $100 special assessment to the federal crime victims fund, and a $5,000 assessment to the domestic trafficking victims’ fund, unless the sentencing court finds the Defendant to be indigent. Restitution may also be ordered.

Rivera was indicted by a North Dakota grand jury on October 6, 2016. The South Dakota U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of South Dakota, is prosecuting the case after the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of North Dakota, recused itself from the matter.

The charge stems from the following facts:

In June 2016, Bismarck and other North Dakota state and federal law enforcement officers began to learn that Rivera, at the time a Deputy U.S. Marshal who worked at the federal courthouse in Bismarck, had been surreptitiously recording a variety of women, including juveniles, while they were in fitting rooms or in other parts of area stores. Some of the surreptitious recordings captured women and minors in various stages of undress. Officers received search warrants to search Rivera’s Bismarck apartment, his vehicle parked at the federal courthouse in Bismarck, and his person, and to particularly look at any digital or computer media found at those locations. At his apartment, officers seized a computer that was password protected. Rivera was arrested on state charges related to the surreptitious recording of the adult and juvenile females, which are separately pending in district court in the State of North Dakota, County of Burleigh.

Officers searched Rivera’s computer, and found downloaded videos and images, including 36 or more pictures of child pornography and 52 or more videos of child pornography. A review of some of the downloaded videos, as a brief sample, included the sexual abuse of children, including children in the age range of 6 to 11. About 52 child pornography files, including mostly videos, were found in a user directory for "Michael" on Rivera’s computer.

Officers’ searches of the computer also revealed artifacts in bookmarks, cache records, web history, and web visits. Some of those internet artifacts are commonly associated with child pornography and voyeur search artifacts. Internet access logs on the computer indicate some of the materials were received and accessed by Rivera between April 2016 and June 2016, in the District of North Dakota. The internet was used by Rivera to access visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

The investigation was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Investigations, the Bismarck Police Department, and the North Dakota Crime Bureau’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Maher is prosecuting the case on behalf of the U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Attorney Randolph J. Seiler.

Based upon the request of the parties, Rivera was remanded to the custody of North Dakota state authorities, pending his January 30, 2017 jury trial on state charges. The federal sentencing date has been set for April 18, 2017.

Project Safe Childhood
Updated January 28, 2017