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Kristen Daum, Published December 02 2009

Wahpeton man in court on child porn charges

A Wahpeton, N.D., man faces a federal charge for having about 50,000 images of child pornography on his computer.

Jonathan A. Stahl, 216 4th St. N., Apt. 1, made his first appearance in Fargo’s federal court Tuesday.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court:

Federal authorities were alerted in July by a North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation task force, which said a user account on the social networking site Ning.com was uploading images of suspected child pornography.

Authorities tracked the user account, “mylovebrandon,” to an e-mail address that was later tied to Stahl’s computer IP address.

On Sept. 22, federal agents executed a search warrant of Stahl’s apartment and interviewed him. Stahl told the agents about the 50,000 images, saying he “had a problem and couldn’t stop looking at it.”

Stahl also said he has a history of sexually molesting children.

Authorities have since retrieved more than 4,400 images and nearly 300 videos from Stahl’s hard drive and estimated there are “tens of thousands of additional images that likely contain child pornography on Stahl’s computer.”

A preliminary hearing has been set for Friday, and Stahl has been detained until then, according to court documents.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541