Selby Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of a Child and Distribution of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors
United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that Christopher R. Jansen, age 35, of Selby, South Dakota, appeared before United States District Judge Roberto A. Lange on November 17, 2015, and pled guilty to a Superseding Indictment charging him with Sexual Exploitation of a Child and Distribution of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 50 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, a period of supervised release of five years up to life, $200 in special assessments, and restitution.
The defendant was an attorney who has worked in central South Dakota. He lived and worked in Walworth County, where he maintained a law firm in Mobridge and a residence in Selby. He was the Walworth County State’s Attorney from approximately 2009 to 2012. The defendant has had a professional attorney-client relationship with a family from central South Dakota, and the minor victims identified in the Superseding Indictment are members of that family. He represented the family on family law related matters. The defendant befriended the client’s family and developed a relationship with the minors. The defendant visited their home, the family visited the defendant’s home, and there were situations where the defendant stayed overnight with the children.
Regarding the charge of Sexual Exploitation of a Child, the defendant engaged in repeat acts of sex with one of the children. The defendant had sexual encounters with the child for approximately two years. The defendant videotaped about 8 of these encounters, and he maintained these videos on his media within his Selby home. The defendant also produced 6 to 7 images of these encounters and maintained those images on his computer media at his home. The defendant engaged in other sexual encounters with another minor in his client’s family, and he produced videos and images related to sexual acts and sexual contact with at least two of the minors.
The defendant refers to himself as a pedophile and indicated he has been dealing with his attraction to and acting out upon minors for a number of years. The defendant knows his attraction to minors is illegal. He loses control at times and that is when he molests minors. Sometimes he satisfies his desire for children by looking at child pornography.
Regarding the charge of Distribution of Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors, the defendant was a member of a website that is used to distribute child pornography. The website is an online bulletin board whose primary purpose is the advertisement and distribution of child pornography. The website requires its users to continually upload child pornography in order to gain and keep membership. Since at least December 2013, the defendant was a member of the website and has himself distributed materials containing child pornography, including both materials that involve the family, as well as other child pornography. On the website, the defendant indicated he was interested in boys in the age range of 5 to 12 years old. The defendant used an image of his client’s child as his avatar picture on the website. Law enforcement officers observed images available on the website which establish that the defendant shared images of his client’s child, and the distribution of those materials affected interstate and foreign commerce and were distributed by the use of a computer. The defendant came to possess other images and videos of child pornography as he liked to view images and videos of prepubescent males. The defendant last utilized this child pornography sharing website on approximately Sunday, July 27, 2014, before his arrest by state and federal law enforcement officers two days later on July 29, 2014.
“Some of the most important work we do is prosecuting child pornography cases. These are vicious and dangerous crimes, committed by dark and demonized individuals,” said Seiler. “This case was made even more disturbing by the fact that Jansen was a trusted professional who took advantage of his client’s family, and groomed those children to be his victims. His admission of guilt will take one more predator off the streets.”
The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office and the Mobridge Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Maher and Keith Becker, a Trial Attorney with the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department of Justice, are prosecuting the case.
On September 25, 2015, Jansen was sentenced in Hughes County state court to serve 50 years in prison for two separate convictions of first degree rape.
A presentence investigation report was ordered and a sentencing date will be set in Pierre, South Dakota. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending further hearings.