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Child Exploitation

Fargo man sentenced to 14 years in prison for child pornography

FARGO, N.D. - A local North Dakota man was sentenced on Friday to 14 years in prison for possessing and distributing child pornography, announced acting U.S. Attorney Lynn Jordheim, District of North Dakota. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Postal Service.

Robert Scheiring, 43, was sentenced on Friday to 168 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Erickson. Scheiring pleaded guilty on Nov. 2 to possessing and distributing materials involving minors being sexually exploited. As part of his sentence, he must register as a sex offender and abide by a number of special conditions strictly to include supervised release after he completes his prison sentence.

ICE agents executed a search warrant on May 6, 2009, where Scheiring was employed at the Blue Cross/ Blue Shield headquarters office in Fargo, N.D., and at his Fargo residence. ICE agents seized a laptop computer and thumb drive from his office, and a computer and external hard drive from his residence. A forensic analysis of Scheiring's electronic media conducted by ICE revealed roughly 600,000 image files and 2,400 video files of children depicted in sexually explicit activity. Thousands of these images depicted children engaged in hard-core sexual activity and other violent conduct.

Scheiring was a member of several password-protected bulletin boards which were dedicated to distributing child pornography. Scheiring was promoted to a "trusted member" on a bulletin board, providing him greater access to new child pornographic material. Scheiring's crimes occurred from 2008 and continued through May 2009.

Assistant U. S. Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl, District of North Dakota, prosecuted this case.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,000 individuals.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 orhttp://www.cybertipline.com.