Couple Charged with Producing, Receiving Child Pornography
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 17, 2010|
In separate but related cases filed in federal court in St. Paul during the past week, a 44-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man were charged with allegedly producing and receiving sexually explicit photographs of the woman’s two daughters. On December 8, 2010, Donna Mary Zauner, no known address, was charged with one count of production of child pornography, while Alec James Tafolla, of Claymont, Delaware, was charged with one count of receiving child pornography.
According to law enforcement affidavits filed in the cases, a Winona resident contacted police on October 6, 2010, to inform them of pornographic images of two young girls found on his computer. Previously, the man had been in a relationship with Zauner and had allowed her and her two daughters, ages 2 and 6, to live with him, beginning on September 9, 2010. However, on October 6, 2010, Zauner and the girls left his residence without notice. He checked his computer history in an attempt to find information about their whereabouts but, instead, came across an e-mail account he did not recognize. He also discovered an e-mail sent from the account that contained a photograph of one Zauner’s daughters engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Police determined the account belonged to Tafolla.
Later that night, authorities located Tafolla, Zauner, and the two girls in a Winona hotel. At that time, police recovered 23 additional sexually explicit photos from Zauner’s cell phone. They further learned that in early September, Tafolla had driven Zauner and her children from New York, where they lived, to Minnesota, in exchange for pornographic photos of the girls.
If convicted, Zauner faces a potential maximum penalty of 30 years in prison with a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years, and Tafolla faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years, with a mandatory minimum penalty of five years. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.
These cases are the result of an investigation by the Winona Police Department and the Minnesota Cyber Crimes Task Force, which is sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Secret Service. They are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen B. Schommer.