Workhouse, probation for Plymouth man convicted of possessing child porn

Over 93% of predators convicted in Hennepin County on charges related to child exploitation received probation.

A Plymouth man accused of having over 1,200 images or files containing child pornography and erotica will not serve any time in prison following his conviction on possessing the materials.

The Plymouth Police Department began investigating Kevin Mark Stroot in August of last year after it was notified of possible child pornography existing within an online photo account.

Investigators determined that the email accounts and phone number associated with the account were registered to Stroot. Investigators also found that the IP address used during the time of the upload of the files also corresponded to Stroot’s physical address.

During the course of the investigation, police were notified of a second cybertip that involved possible child pornography uploaded to a social networking account. Further investigation found that the email account and phone number listed on that account were also registered to Stroot, and the IP address again corresponded to Stroot’s physical work address.

Police subsequently executed a search warrant at Stroot’s residence in Plymouth, Minnesota, and seized multiple phones and a computer from his room and in his possession.

A digital forensic examination of Stroot’s cellphones found 149 image files of child pornography and 1,082 files of child erotica, including a graphic image of a female child between the ages of seven and 10 engaged in sexual activity with an adult male.

The forensic examination of Stroot’s computer found no image files of child pornography, but it found the following search terms were used a total of 263 times: Pedo, Preteen, Pretty Child Terms, Teen Hardcore, Incest, Lolita, Kiddy xxxd, Pedophile and Pedophilia.

In April of this year, a warrant request was made for Stroot’s arrest, in which the investigator called Stroot “a threat to public safety.” The Hennepin County criminal complaint charged Stroot with three felony counts of possessing electronic images of child pornography on a work computer.

Following his arrest and initial court appearance, Stroot was ordered conditionally released with no bail required by Judge Lois R. Conroy.

In June, Stroot pleaded guilty to two of the three felony counts and was referred for probation, according to court records.

Stroot was formally convicted Monday on the two counts and the third count was dismissed. Stroot was granted a stay-of-imposition by Judge Peter A. Cahill, which means that felony sentencing was not imposed, and if Stroot successfully completes the terms of the stay-of-imposition, the convictions will be reduced to misdemeanors.

Stroot, 42, was instead ordered to serve concurrent 90-day sentences in a workhouse on the two counts beginning on Oct. 15. Court records indicate that he may be eligible to serve the sentence on electronic home monitoring, however. Stroot will remain on probation for a term of two years and must comply with other requirements, including registration as a predatory offender, no contact with persons under the age of 18, and the completion of a sex offender treatment program.

Minnesota law provides for a sentence on the conviction of child pornography of up to five years. However, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Sex Offender Grid recommends a presumptive stayed sentence for offenders with a criminal history score of three or under.

A check of Minnesota criminal records shows that Stroot has no prior adult convictions in the state, which would mean he had a criminal history score of zero at the time of sentencing, making him eligible for the presumptive stayed sentencing.

Minnesota is not tough on child predators

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison stated last year that child sex trafficking activity takes place in all parts of Minnesota and that Minneapolis is one of the top locations in the U.S. for child sex trafficking.

Despite that ranking, Alpha News has previously reported that Minnesota is soft on child predators. Minnesota has effectively decriminalized the possession of child sexual abuse imagery by placing offenses in the obscenity-related statutes, rather than under criminal-related statutes.

Over 93% of predators convicted in Hennepin County on charges related to child exploitation received probation, according to data compiled by the National Association to Protect Children (Protect) from 2007 to 2016.

Republican lawmaker Rep. Matt Grossell last year introduced a bill in the Minnesota Legislature that sought to adopt stronger sentencing based on federal standards for child predators with child sexual abuse imagery — where receipt, distribution, and production often all carry serious mandatory prison time.

Grossell’s bill failed to get attention in either chamber.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.