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Steele County Man Indicted for International Sexual Exploitation of Children

MINNEAPOLIS – A Blooming Prairie man has been indicted for sexually exploiting children outside the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, between November 2021 and April 2022, Steven John Sokel, 61, by aiding and abetting other individuals, coerced three minor girls outside of the United States to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions. Sokel also possessed sexually explicit images and videos of minors.

The indictment charges Sokel with two counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of possession of child pornography. Sokel made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court on April 19, 2024, before Magistrate Judge David T. Schultz. He was ordered to remain in custody pending a formal detention hearing.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Campbell Warner is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


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