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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, April 23, 2016

Rosebud Man Sentenced for Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Distribution of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors, and Failure to Appear

United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that a Rosebud, South Dakota, man convicted of Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Distribution of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors, and Failure to Appear was sentenced on April 19, 2016, by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.

Neal LaPointe, age 32, was sentenced to 234 months in custody, 8 years of supervised release, a $300 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund, $528.10 in restitution, and no contact with minors, co-defendants, and victims.

LaPointe was indicted for Sexual Exploitation of a Child and Distribution of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors by a federal grand jury on June 12, 2013.  An eight-count Superseding Indictment charging seven counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Child and one count of Distribution of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors was filed on August 12, 2013.  On August 19, 2014, LaPointe was indicted for Failure to Appear by a federal grand jury.  He pled guilty to one count each of Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Distribution of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors, and Failure to Appear on September 28, 2015.

At earlier times, as well as between March 1, 2012, and April 30, 2013, LaPointe was living in California and, using the guise of various aliases and online identities, including that of a minor female named "Jess Martin", he would use computers, the internet, and the social networking site Facebook to solicit images of minors engaging in explicit sexual conduct, and he would also distribute images of minors engaging in explicit sexual conduct via computer and over the internet.  Using the guise of "Jess Martin" LaPointe solicited sexually explicit photographs from a minor who lived on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation.  The minor reciprocated and sent LaPointe some explicit pictures of herself. The minor used her computer and a webcam to send the images to LaPointe.  Those images were shared with other individuals, and circulated over the internet between the states of South Dakota and California, and elsewhere.  LaPointe also solicited other depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct when he asked for naked photos and photos displaying the genitals.

LaPointe received and distributed numerous images of child pornography and depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct on different dates.  The illegal materials came into LaPointe's possession in California, and he redistributed images, sharing materials with others from South Dakota,including, but not limited to, some other men as well as a minor from the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.  LaPointe had reason to know that the child pornography images and depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct would be produced using material that had been mailed and shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce by any means, including by computer or cellular telephone, Facebook, or other online services.

On July 14, 2014, LaPointe, having been charged with the offenses of Sexual Exploitation of a Child and Distribution of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors, offenses punishable by imprisonment for a term of more than 15 years, and having been released in connection with the aforementioned criminal charge, did knowingly fail to appear as required before U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.  After his initial arrest, he was detained for a period of time.  Ultimately, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Moreno allowed his release and ordered him to be on electronic monitoring and to live with his father at a ranch on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation.  As part of his release, LaPointe signed paperwork indicating he understood that failure to appear could lead to prosecution and that he needed to appear as directed by the Court for all scheduled matters.  LaPointe signed a plea agreement agreeing to plead guilty to sexual exploitation and related charges.  He was ordered to appear for a change of plea hearing on July 14, 2014, at 10:45 a.m.  LaPointe failed to appear at court because he had absconded from his release and electronic monitoring, and his whereabouts were unknown until he was apprehended around February 13, 2015, in Miami, Florida.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Rapid City Police Department, Sioux Falls Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tim Maher and Sarah Collins prosecuted the case.

LaPointe was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Topic: 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated April 23, 2016