Minneapolis Sex Offender Found Guilty in Federal Court of Child Pornography Offenses

A previously convicted sex offender has been found guilty in federal court of possessing and receiving child pornography after authorities located more than 33,000 images and videos of child pornography on his laptop computers.

John Edwin Kuhnel, Source: MN Dept. of Corrections

A previously convicted sex offender has been found guilty in federal court of possessing and receiving child pornography after authorities located more than 33,000 images and videos of child pornography on his laptop computers.

John Edwin Kuhnel, 40, of Minneapolis was convicted on nine counts of receiving child pornography and two counts of possession of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Erica McDonald announced on Tuesday.

Kuhnel was found guilty following a two-day bench trial before Chief Judge John R. Tunheim in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

The release stated that as proven at trial, Kuhnel obtained and possessed child pornography images and videos while being supervised for a 2010 Hennepin County conviction for second-degree criminal sexual conduct. On Nov. 29, 2016, following a meeting with his probation officer, Kuhnel admitted to unauthorized internet activity in violation of the terms of his supervision. Law enforcement’s forensic examination of Kuhnel’s two laptop computers revealed more than 33,000 child pornography images and videos. Kuhnel was instructed to return to the probation office the following day but, instead, Kuhnel fled the state and remained a fugitive until he was arrested in another state in 2017. 

According to a court document, Kuhnel was convicted in 2010 on second-degree criminal sexual conduct after engaging in sexual contact with his then-three-year-old daughter. Following that conviction, Kuhnel received a stayed sentence and was placed on probation by now retired Hennepin County Judge Patricia Karasov. Kuhnel eventually violated the terms of his probation and he was sentenced to 36-months in prison, of which he served two-thirds incarcerated and the remainder on supervised release. It was during that release (parole) period that Kuhnel was discovered in possession of the child pornography during an investigation by his probation officer following suspected probation violations, the court document states.

The court document states that monitoring software detected that Kuhnel had taken photos of his genitals and was sending those photos to an unknown party, and that he had accessed websites such as Craig’s List and Facebook that he did not have authorization to access. Following a confrontation by his probation officer on the suspected violations, Kuhnel eventually admitted to the violations and a subsequent search of his vehicle was performed where the laptops containing the child pornography were found following a forensic investigation.

U.S. Attorney McDonald said that the case was the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Minneapolis Police Department and the Hennepin County Probation Office and 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. According to its website, 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.

Kuhnel is currently in custody in Anoka County Jail and will be sentenced at a later date.

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