Harris man faces child porn charges

A 32-year-old Chisago County man has been charged with 12 felony counts of disseminating and possessing child pornography through the use of computer and electronic equipment from his Harris residence.

Michael Lawrence Cloud appeared in Chisago County District Court  Oct. 10 where bail was set at $150,000 without conditions or $75,000 on the conditions that he has no contact with minors, computers or devices that have Internet access. He is also barred from viewing pornography, according to County Attorney Janet Reiter.

According to the court complaint:

In late December 2011, an officer with the Minneapolis Police Crime Lab used an undercover investigative software to discover about 136 known or suspected child pornography files that were available for download from a host computer running peer to peer software. The officer was able to download six files containing sexually explicit digital images of young girls, appearing from age 6 to 16, from the host computer at a specific IP address.

On Jan. 11, an administrative subpoena was sent to the Internet provider, which reported Cloud as the subscriber of the IP address at issue. About four months later, the officer, along with several other law enforcement authorities, executed a search warrant at the suspect’s residence in Harris.

Cloud acknowledged he lived alone and no one else had access to the computers or other electronic equipment at his residence. He acknowledged that he installed the peer to peer program on his computer and used it to download images of child pornography. He further estimated  that thousands of images and videos of child porn, mostly involving children ranging from ages 3 to 14, would be located on discs in his possession.

During the search, several computers, hard drives, floppy disks,  flash drives and other items were seized from the residence. A forensic examination of the items last month revealed a total of 6,647 suspected images and files of child porn on various hard drives and optical discs.

The files containing suspected child pornography were sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for known victim analysis. The center’s initial comparison report identified 1,616 images/videos that depict at least one child previously identified by law enforcement.

Cloud is facing six counts of disseminating pornographic work from December 27, 2011, and six more counts for possessing pornographic images through computer equipment and electronics on April 30, 2012.

The penalty for a single count of disseminating pornographic work is seven years imprisonment and/or a $10,000  fine for a first offense and 15 years imprisonment and/or a $20,000 fine for a second or subsequent offense. The penalty for possessing a pornographic work by computer disk, electronic/magnetic and/or optical image is five years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine for a first offense and 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine for a second or subsequent offense.

Cloud, who is subject to formal pre-trial supervision, will next appear in court on Oct. 24 before Judge McBride in Chisago County District Court.

  • Joe

    The police needs to start prosecuting people who all they do is to look at pixels on a screen, you can’t jail someone for owning pixels. It is time to make child porn possession legal and start focusing on the producers, no more witch hunt.

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