Selby Man Sentenced to 40 Years for Producing Child Pornography and Distribution of Child Pornography
United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler and Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced that a Selby, Walworth County, South Dakota, man convicted of Sexual Exploitation of a Child and Distribution of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors was sentenced on March 21, 2016, by U.S. District Court Judge Roberto A. Lange.
Christopher R. Jansen, age 36, was sentenced to 480 months in custody, a lifetime of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. He must also register as a sex offender and have no contact with minors as well as his victims and their immediate family.
Jansen was indicted for Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Distribution of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors, and Possession of Child Pornography by a federal grand jury on October 15, 2014. He pled guilty to the first two offenses on November 17, 2015.
Jansen was an attorney who has worked in Central South Dakota. He lived and worked in Walworth County, where he maintained a law firm in Mobridge and a residence in Selby. He was the Walworth County State’s Attorney from approximately 2009 to 2012. Jansen had a professional attorney-client relationship with a family from Central South Dakota, and the minor victims identified in the Superseding Indictment are members of that family. He represented the family on family law related matters. Jansen befriended the client’s family and developed a relationship with the minors. He visited their home, the family visited his home, and there were situations where Jansen was alone with or stayed overnight with the children.
Regarding the charge of Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Jansen engaged in repeat acts of sex with one of the children. He had sexual encounters with the child for approximately 2 years. He videotaped about 8 of these encounters, and maintained these videos on his media within his Selby home. He also produced 6 to 7 images of these encounters and maintained those images on his computer media at his home. He engaged in other sexual encounters with another minor in his client’s family, and he produced videos and images related to sexual acts and sexual contact with at least two of the minors.
Jansen refers to himself as a pedophile and indicated he has been dealing with his attraction to and acting out upon minors for a number of years. He knows his attraction to minors is illegal. He admits he loses control at times and that is when he molests minors and says he sometimes satisfies his desire for children by looking at child pornography.
Regarding the charge of Distribution of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors, Jansen was a member of a website that is used to distribute child pornography. The website is an online bulletin board whose primary purpose is the advertisement and distribution of child pornography. The website requires its users to continually upload child pornography in order to gain and keep membership. Since at least December 2013, Jansen was a member of the website and has himself distributed materials containing child pornography, including both materials that involve the family, as well as other child pornography. On the website, Jansen indicated he was interested in boys in the age range of 5 to 12 years old. He used an image of his client’s child as his avatar picture on the website. Law enforcement officers observed images available on the website which establish that Jansen shared images of his client’s child, and the distribution of those materials affected interstate and foreign commerce and were distributed by the use of a computer. Jansen came to possess other images and videos of child pornography as he liked to view images and videos of prepubescent males. He last utilized this child pornography sharing website on approximately Sunday, July 27, 2014, before his arrest by state and federal law enforcement officers two days later on July 29, 2014.
Jansen was arrested on July 29, 2014, following searches of his home and law office. On September 25, 2015, Jansen was sentenced in Hughes County, South Dakota, to serve 50 years in prison for two separate convictions of first degree rape. His federal sentence on child pornography charges was ordered served concurrently to his state court rape charges.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office and the Mobridge Police Department. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Maher of the District of South Dakota and Acting Assistant Deputy Chief Keith Becker of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) prosecuted the case. At the conclusion of his federal sentencing, Jansen was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for transfer back to state authorities to begin serving his state sentence.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.