By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE A Lester Prairie resident who is currently serving time in prison has been charged with seven felony counts of possession of pornographic work involving minors.
Lester Prairie Police Chief Robert Carlson, after a thorough investigation was completed, stated “To the best of our knowledge, none of the images retrieved involved children from McLeod County.”
According to a formal complaint, Justin Desmet Lott, 34, is currently serving time at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Rush City.
The complaint states that the Lester Prairie Police Department received a request for assistance Jan. 20 from a department of corrections probation agent.
The probation agent said he was at Lott’s residence in Lester Prairie, and Lott was in possession of a cell phone in violation of his conditions of supervised release.
An officer responded to Lott’s residence and met the probation agent and Lott.
The probation agent told the officer Lott was to be arrested for violating conditions of release by possessing a cell phone. The agent also said Lott had showed him images of child pornography on the cell phone.
According to the complaint, the officer took possession of the cell phone and observed pictures of obviously minor children engaging in sexual conduct with adult males.
The officer took the cell phone into evidence and during the investigation 681 suspected images of child pornography were identified.
The images were sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which issued a report stating 170 of those images contain known identified minor children.
The police department and county attorney’s office selected seven images for prosecution.
According to the complaint, Lott is a registered predatory offender, and this offense is alleged to have been committed while Lott was on supervised release from prison for a criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree offense.
If convicted, each of the seven felony charges of possession of pornographic work involving minors carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine.
Carlson reiterated that based on the investigation, law enforcement officers do not believe any of the images involve minors from Lester Prairie or McLeod County.
In March, the City of Lester Prairie, on Carlson’s recommendation, adopted an amendment to its city code to add a predatory offender ordinance.
Carlson noted this ordinance is intended to keep the community safe.
The ordinance restricts the areas in which designated offenders may live.
It makes it unlawful for a designated offender to establish residence within 1,000 feet of any school, licensed daycare center, licensed daycare home, park, or playground, or any place of worship which provides regular educational programs, or any other place where children are known to congregate.
The ordinance also makes it unlawful for any designated offender to participate in a holiday event involving children under 18 years of age, such as distributing candy to children at Halloween, wearing a Santa Claus costume on Halloween, or wearing an Easter bunny costume at Easter.
The full text of the ordinance can be seen by following the link at www.herald-journal.com.