Kenmare, North Dakota Native Sentence for Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
BISMARCK—Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher C. Myers announced that on June 25, 2015, Vernon Brekhus, 36, Kenmare, ND, was sentenced before Daniel L. Hovland to serve 45 years in prison for one count of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, and 20 years in prison for one count of Possession of Materials Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, with the two terms of confinement to be run concurrent. Judge Hovland further sentenced Brekhus to a lifetime of supervised release and to also pay $1,500 in restitution, in conjunction with a $200 special assessment to the Department of Justice’s Crime Victims’ Fund.
This case came to the attention of law enforcement when a detective working in an undercover capacity came into contact with Brekhus while working online in an area of the Internet known for incest and sexual exploitation of children. Brekhus later contacted the undercover officer to arrange a Skype video conversation. A search warrant was issued for Brekhus’ residence where a laptop computer, a personal computer, thumb drives, as well as other electronic devices were seized. Upon forensic examination and analysis of the electronic devices indicated, there were 793 pictures and 16 videos containing child pornography.
Judge Hovland also directed that Brekhus must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI)—Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Puhl and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Delorme prosecuted the case.
This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the nation, Project Safe Childhood, in conjunction with Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, help federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communications systems, or computer technology to sexually exploit children. The ICAC program is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces engaging in proactive investigations, forensic investigations, and criminal prosecutions. Project Safe Childhood also helps to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.