“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.