On December 22, 2011, in federal court, a jury found a 57-year-old Winona man guilty of sending and possessing child pornography. Following a two-day trial, Dennis Gale Chase was convicted on three counts of transportation of child pornography and three counts of possession of child pornography. Chase was indicted on May 2, 2011.
According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, Chase transported via a computer on March 28, March 29, and April 28, 2011, visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In addition, Chase possessed both images and videos containing similar conduct on September 9, 2009, February 17, 2010, and May 4, 2011. The depictions were downloaded and stored on Chase’s computer, while additional depictions were stored on external hard drives and on thumb drives.
For his crimes, Chase faces a potential maximum penalty of 40 years in prison on each transportation count, with a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years, and a potential maximum penalty of 20 years on each possession count, with a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years. United States District Court Judge John R. Tunheim will determine his sentence at a future hearing.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (Florida), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Winona Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly A. Svendsen and Laura M. Provinzino.
Presently, the Justice Department is funding a study concerning the correlation between involvement in child pornography and the hands-on sexual abuse of children. A 2008 study (The United States Department of Justice, United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota, News Release B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney, Jeanne F. Cooney Director of Community Relations, (612) 664-5611/ email: firstname.lastname@example.org Butner Study) published in the Journal of Family Violence found that up to 80 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for possession, receipt, or distribution of child pornography also admitted to hands-on sexual abuse of children, ranging from touching to rape.
The U.S. Department of Justice is committed to combating the sexual exploitation of children, particularly via the Internet. In Fiscal Year 2010, 2,235 defendants pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges, 2,222 of whom were sentenced to prison. In Fiscal Year 2009, 2,083 defendants were sentenced to prison on child pornography charges. For more information about these efforts, please visit the Department’s Project Safe Childhood website, at www.projectsafechildhood.gov.