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Forum News Service, Published March 21 2013

Willmar man accused of having nearly 4,000 child porn images

WILLMAR, Minn. - A Willmar man faces felony charges after authorities said they found nearly 4,000 images and videos of child pornography on his computer equipment.

Stephen Elliot Titrud, 38, made his first court appearance Wednesday on two felony charges of possession and dissemination of pornography.

According to the complaint filed in Kandiyohi County District Court, 540 of the items on the computer hardware were identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as images of 114 known child victims of exploitation.

Unconditional bail was set at $20,000. Titrud’s next appearance is April 1.

The complaint says the investigation began in September 2011, when agents from the Internet Crimes Against Children division started an auto program that trolls a list of suspected Internet protocol addresses for pornography, downloading the images as it finds them.

A video showing child pornography was downloaded via file sharing from an IP address that was identified as Titrud’s computer. Willmar police served a search warrant on the Willmar address in November 2011 and collected two computer towers and an external hard drive.