Friday, December 12, 2008

Shannon Keith Hauser - Repeat Sex Offender

A man who had moved to Worthington earlier this year was charged Wednesday for both possessing and disseminating child pornography photographs.

The criminal complaint states Shannon Keith Hauser, aka Sean Keith Hauser, 37, is a registered sex offender who has been convicted of arson, conspiracy to commit theft, criminal sexual conduct, theft and predatory offender registration issues, according to state records. Originally from Raymond, he had been living in the St. Cloud area when he met a woman from Worthington on the Internet and moved down to live with her in June.

After several months of investigation, an agent from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), along with law enforcement personnel from the Worthington Police Department and the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office, executed a search warrant Dec. 8 at Hauser’s current registered address in Worthington

In July, the BCA had received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding 163 images of possible child pornography to a Web address. Investigation revealed the account that had uploaded the images was registered to a Yahoo account under the name Bryan Guptil of Willmar. An account on MySpace was found under the same name. An IP address led to Hauser’s former residence in Waite Park. A background investigation on Hauser unveiled his status as a registered sex offender and led authorities to Worthington.

On Monday, authorities confronted Hauser, who initially denied posting any child pornography on the Internet. He allegedly said he had purchased a computer in June from someone in St. Cloud and found photos on it, but could not get them off of his hard drive. He denied having a MySpace account or knowing the name Bryan Guptil. He insisted there would not be any photos recorded on his hard drive after June.

A BCA forensic examiner found otherwise. While the agent was speaking with Hauser, the examiner had been looking at Hauser’s computer and reportedly located child pornography from later in the year.

When presented with that fact, Hauser asked to speak to the agent privately. He allegedly told the agent and a Worthington Police detective he had been viewing child pornography on the computer and had uploaded the images on Flickr. He admitted he had created the Bryan Guptil accounts on the Internet and allegedly said he used to trade child pornography on a different site using the search term “pthc,” which he clarified was short for preteen hard core incest. He claimed his interest was in children between the ages of 10 and 18 of either gender.

While speaking to the agent and detective privately in his room, he opened a drawer, the complaint states, and pulled out a flash drive. Handing it to the agent, he claimed there probably 25 movies and hundreds of images on the drive. He stated he needed help and wanted to go to jail because he couldn’t stop on his own.

Pursuant to the search warrant, authorities seized 27 CDs or DVDs from Hauser, along with the computer, the flash drive and a cell phone.

On Wednesday, bail was set at $25,000. As of Thursday afternoon, Hauser was still being held in the Nobles County Jail. He faces up to 25 years incarceration and/or $10,000 in fines if convicted of both charges. His next court appearance is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 23 at the Prairie Justice Center, Worthington.

"25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years"

.........Sarah Tofte

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