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Patrick Springer, Published May 05 2009

Drayton truck driver pleads guilty to producing child pornography

FARGO – A truck driver from Drayton, N.D., pleaded guilty today to two charges of child pornography that included images of an infant boy being sodomized.

Laurence Pelletier, Jr., 31, entered his plea in U.S. District Court and admitted his involvement in producing and possessing child pornography.

The prosecution stemmed from a complaint a year ago from a 7-year-old girl who said she had been sexually assaulted on “many occasions” by Peltier, said Jennifer Puhl, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case.

The girl said Peltier had taken nude photographs of her in the bathtub, and investigators searched the man’s home in Drayton.

Later, federal authorities learned Peltier was in Canada. They stopped him when he was re-entering the United States at Pembina, N.D., and questioned him, Puhl said.

In the interview, Peltier admitted his involvement in child pornography over a period of two to three years. A search found a digital camera, laptop and desktop computer with pornographic images.

Investigators linked the photograph of the infant boy to the electronic fingerprint for Peltier’s camera.

Pelletier, who is in custody, faces sentencing July 15. He faces a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence to one of the charges.

For more on the story, read Wednesday’s Forum.