Warroad man charged in chat room sting
A criminal complaint says a Warroad, Minn., man had sexually charged conversations with an undercover officer in a chat room for teens and exposed himself over a Web camera on several occasions.
Brad Allan Erickson, 45, made his initial appearance Monday in state District Court in Roseau, Minn.
The complaint says Doreen Andrews, a Milwaukee police detective, posed as a 15-year-old girl named "Maria" in April and May 2008 when she got messages from "insidestraight_2000" who identified himself as a 38-year-old from Minnesota named "Brad." Andrews managed to link the online handle "insidestraight_2000" to Erickson's Internet address in Warroad, the complaint states.
The complaint says Erickson sent a Web camera to an undercover post office box in Milwaukee and gave "Maria" instructions on how to install it. Andrews referred the case to an agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
In August 2008, Erickson's apartment was searched, and during the search, he acknowledged having several sexual chats with "Maria" and that he knew she was a minor, but did not think talking that way was a crime, the complaint says.
He told investigators he exposed himself in front of his Web camera for "Maria"; sent her a Web camera; and asked her to expose herself on camera, according to the complaint.
The complaint says officers found 28 files of "possible" child pornography files on his computer. In July 2009, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported that one image appeared to contain a known child victim, the complaint states.
Erickson faces nine counts of Internet solicitation of a child to engage in sexual conduct. Each charge has a maximum penalty of three years in prison. He also faces a charge of possession of pornographic work involving minors, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
A judge released Erickson on his own recognizance Monday and ordered him to not have unsupervised contact with anyone younger than 18, not possess pornographic material and not use the Internet, a clerk of court said.
The clerk said she was not aware if Erickson had an attorney. Erickson's phone number is not listed. He's due back in court in April.
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