Lake County K-9 Thwarts Child Pornographer

“Browser” (LC State’s Attorney’s  digital evidence K-9) helps to thwart Child Pornographer

(Hammond, Ind.) United States Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent In Charge Grant Mendenhall, in coordination with LaPorte County, Ind., Prosecutor John Lake and the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, announced that Michael Christianson, age 50, of LaPorte, was charged with transportation of child pornography. 

The criminal complaint alleges that on or about July 2, 2019, FBI Agents from the Charlotte Division responded to a complaint by a book publisher about material contained inside three books submitted for publication and authored by Christianson.

F.B.I. officials said the books appear to be geared toward children as they use large fonts, simple words, and most of the sentences rhyme. The books explain and show images that encouraged children to play naked with one another, and encouraged children to play with naked adults. Photographs and illustrations in the books also include depictions of minor children engaging in sexually explicit conduct, F.B.I officials said.

Christianson was convicted of child molesting in 2002 and was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison and register as Sexually Violent Predator for the rest of his life. He was released from prison in 2016 and was still on probation at the time of the newly charged offense.

Browser, the electronic detection canine from the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, and handler Carol Gudbrandsen were called in to assist the F.B.I. in the case.

“We are so proud of our electronic evidence canine,” said Lake County State’s Attorney Michael G. Nerheim. “As we have said since the beginning, Browser is and will remain available to any law enforcement agency in need of his services.”

Any members of the public who have additional information regarding Christianson and any conduct he has had with minor children are encouraged to call the FBI at (219) 942-4900.

The United States Attorney’s Office emphasizes that a criminal complaint is merely an allegation and that all persons are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

If convicted, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

This case remains investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Gang Response Investigative Team in coordination with the Indiana State Police, the Michigan City Police Department, the Lake County Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office and the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office. 

Lake County Health Committee Passes Changes to Ordinance To Protect Animals

Lake County Health Committee Passes Changes to Ordinance To Protect Animals

Thank you to the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center , Lake County Animal Care & Control , Go Humane Lake County and representatives of the Breeder Community for working together to come up with a common sense compromise that solidifies rights of legitimate breeders while strengthening humane protections for our fur baby population in Lake County.

A resolution passed committee today, unanimously, that will enforce fines and punishment on breeders guilty of inhumane conditions or cruelty to animals.

This goes to the full board for a vote in a couple weeks.

Here is the text from the HCS Agenda for the proposed modifications.

  • 7.3 19-1208 Ordinance amending the Lake County Code of Ordinances Chapter 172 – Animals.
    • The proposed revisions to 172.12 (B) contain requirements when the owner of a dog that has been declared animal-aggressive (when it has killed or seriously injured another owned animal) wants to give away or sell the dog or move to another jurisdiction.
    • The proposed revisions would require an owner to notify Animal Care and Control prior to transferring custody of the dog so that a disposition letter can be provided to the new owner identifying the responsibilities needed to meet requirements.
    • The proposed revisions would also require an owner to notify Animal Care and Control in both the jurisdiction to which he or she is moving, and the jurisdiction he or she is leaving. These revisions are modeled after similar requirements in the Illinois Animal Control Act for an owner of a dog that has been declared vicious (when it has killed or seriously injured a person).
  • The proposed revisions to Section 172.15 are to discourage irresponsible breeding of dogs and cats.
    • The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) licenses and regulates the breeding of dogs and cats, but only when the breeder has more than five breeding female
    • In chapter 172, the current pet limit restriction for residences is four dogs and four cats; however, it only applies to pets older than 6 months.
      In unincorporated Lake County, zoning and property use restrictions prohibit “regular” use of a property for breeding and selling pets, but that standard is difficult to establish and prove. Thus, the existing regulations leave a gap in regulating and discouraging irresponsible “backyard breeding.”
    • The proposed revisions provide enforcement authority against irresponsible breeders, specifically those that maintain and treat their animals poorly.
    • The proposed revisions state that if a person is cited by an Animal Control Officer for failing to properly care for their animals (such as poor conditions, lack of food/water/shelter, failure to provide vet care, or cruelty), and the Officer finds that the person’s animal has offspring present (i.e., is breeding them), the exemption for dogs or cats six months or younger would no longer
      apply, and all animals would be counted toward the pet limit.
    • In addition to the care/treatment violations, the person could be cited for violating the pet limit for each dog or cat above the limit. The person could
      be cited a $100 fine per dog or cat, including those six months or younger, for violating the pet limit. Animal Care and Control would receive and pursue
      these cases on a complaint-driven basis.