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Internet porn charges dismissed against Willmar man

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WILLMAR -- Charges of soliciting a teenaged girl on the Internet and e-mailing sexually suggestive photos to her have been dismissed against a 26-year-old Willmar man.

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In a ruling issued Friday, Judge Michael Thompson wrote that there wasn't enough probable cause to prosecute Adam Field Frederick on the two felony counts.

Thompson also ruled that evidence seized at Frederick's apartment and statements he made immediately after his arrest were obtained illegally.

The case came to the attention of authorities in January, when an Appleton woman reported that her 12-year-old daughter was involved in sexually suggestive chats with someone on FaceBook and MySpace whose screen name was "adam" and who lived in Willmar.

The state Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force joined the investigation, using the girl's mother and a task force detective to pose online as the girl and continue the chats.

The investigation led to Frederick, and on Feb. 6 he was arrested and a search warrant was carried out at his apartment. Computers and a camera were seized.

Frederick challenged the state's case, however, and Thompson ruled this week in his favor.

The judge noted that although the online comments by "adam" were sexually provocative and fit the child pornography statute, there was no evidence that convincingly tied them to Frederick.

"... At this time and with this information, the court cannot find sufficient probable cause to sustain the charges," Thompson wrote.

Photos that were used to buttress the case -- pictures of nude women and male genitalia that allegedly were e-mailed to the victim -- did not contain any suggestion that children were involved and therefore didn't meet the required statutory definition of sexual content involving a minor, Thompson wrote in his ruling.

"Accordingly, disgusting as these pictures probably are, the charge cannot stand and it must be dismissed," the judge wrote.

The judge also threw out the evidence seized from Frederick's apartment, his initial statement to police and information obtained from AOL.com, ruling that officers failed to "knock and announce" before entering the apartment -- in effect conducting an illegal search and seizure.

If Frederick had been convicted, he could have faced a maximum of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine on each of the two counts.

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