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Grant County Man Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges

Grant County Man Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges

(Pierre) – Charles P. Korstjen of Big Stone City pled guilty this morning to 8 counts of possession of child pornography. He faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $2,000 fine per count or both.  Korstjen is currently out on bail. As part of the pre-sentence investigation, the court has ordered Korstjen  to undergo a psychosexual evaluation. No sentencing date has been set.

Korstjen was arrested on June 10, 2002. A new law established during the 2002 legislative session increased the maximum penalty for possession of child pornography from two years in prison and a $2,000 fine per count to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine per count or both. The new statute went into effect on July 1, 2002. Because Korstjen was charged before the new statute became effective, he is subject to the old statute penalties. 

Korstjen’s arrest stemmed out of Operation Avalanche. Operation Avalanche was a Texas Law Enforcement investigation of a child pornography website. Texas Law Enforcement forwarded the names of website subscribers to the home states of those subscribers.

The names obtained from Operation Avalanche have led to the arrest of six South Dakota men. In addition to Korstjen, those arrested include: Mathew Lee Mierkey, Sioux Falls; John Mathew Peterson, Watertown; David Loren Wagner, Webster; James Robert Jackson, Rapid City; and John Byron Martin, Belle Fourche.  

An arrest warrant was issued in June for a seventh South Dakota man. He fled the state and officials are currently looking for him in Arizona.

“We fully expect more arrests. Some will come from Operation Avalanche and we are also receiving tips from citizens,” said Chief Deputy Attorney General Larry Long. “The Operation Avalanche sweep has proved to be successful, but the public has also been instrumental in bringing information forward.”

These arrests were made through the joint efforts of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, local law enforcement agencies, and the Governor’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.

Prosecution of these men is being handled jointly by the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office and numerous states attorneys.

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