SLEEPY EYE - A 24-year-old rural Sleepy Eye man faces a felony electronic solicitation of a child charge in Brown County District Court after allegedly chatting with a police officer who posed as a 13-year-old girl in a Yahoo! chat room last April.
On March 21, 2013, a Brown County Sheriff's Office Investigator got a call from a police officer in a Renville County who said they had contact with a 19-year-old male subsequently identified as Timothy I. Kotten, 24, in a Yahoo! chat room at about 2 a.m. on April 16, 2012, according to the complaint.
The police officer was investigating Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force cases when the chat room discussions took place, according to the complaint.
Kotten told the police officer he is a business student enrolled in online classes at a college in Marshall and was living in the family home when the chats took place, according to the complaint.
Kotten used a web cam for nearly all the chat, allowing the officer to observe his face via a web cam video feed. He exposed himself several times during several chats on different dates, according to the complaint.
The officer accessed the Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) student directory and confirmed Kotten's student status at the school. The officer accessed Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) records for a photo of Kotten, and identified him with the person viewed via web cam feed, according to the complaint.
The officer and Kotten continued contact via Yahoo! chat on April 24 and May 2, 2012, without significant incident, according to the complaint.
Chat records showed Kotten's screen name appeared as "Tim K" after he accepted a chat room friend request from the officer on May 2, 2012. The officer's screen name always appeared as "Abbie13MN" during the chat room conversations, according to the complaint.
On May 14 and June 20, 2012, Kotten exposed himself to the officer using his web cam and engaged in chat room discussion. During the later encounter, Kotten asked the officer if she would lay with him in bed.
Kotten's first Brown County District Court appearance was set for 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 30.
The ICAC program helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases using forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, and community education.
The program was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and heightened online activity by predators seeking unsupervised contact with potential underage victims.
The 1998 Justice Appropriations Act directed the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Preventions (OJJDP) to create a national network of state and local law enforcement cyber units to investigate cases of child sexual exploitation.
Since 1998, ICAC Task Forces have reviewed more than 280,000 complaints of alleged child sexual victimization resulting in the arrest of more than 30,000 individuals.
For more information, visit www.ojjdp.gov/programs/
(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org).