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Child porn charges against Cass Lake man to be dismissed

WALKER—A Cass Lake man accused to receiving nude images of a child while working as a Leech Lake police officer received a continuation of dismissal Dec. 18.

A charge of possession of child pornography filed against Shannon Larry Northbird in December 2016 will be dismissed after 90 days as long as he complies with the conditions of his probation.

A continuation of dismissal does not require the defendant to enter a plea.

Northbird was charged with the felony, as well as one count of misconduct by a public employee, after a friend of the then-17-year-old victim saw nude photos the victim had sent to Northbird.

According to a criminal complaint:

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension started investigating Northbird in July 2016 after the victim used her friend's phone to log into Facebook, but did not log out. The victim's grandmother then reported the photos to Leech Lake Behavioral Health Services.

Investigators found that the victim began sending Northbird photos of her breasts and genitals in June, and Northbird allegedly received about 1,000 nude images during that time. He admitted to viewing between 50 and 100 of the photos while on duty, court documents say.

The victim also allegedly received photos of Northbird's genitals.

During a hearing in July 2017, Northbird testified that he believed the girl was 19, and said she told him she had graduated and that she worked as a bartender. He said those details led him to believe she was an adult, and that he did not communicate with her once he found out she was a minor.

Two months after that hearing, the charge of misconduct by a public employee was dismissed.

Northbird must pay $1,000 in court costs and have no contact with the victim.

Grace Pastoor

Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or gpastoor@bemidjipioneer.com

(218) 333-9796
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