Former Clarissa man arrested for child pornography
Updated: Oct 12
According to court documents, in July of this year, a former Clarissa resident—Caleb Vincent McLaughlin, age 26—was arrested and charged in a federal complaint for using social media to sexually exploit minors.
McLaughlin, who most recently lived in Pine City, was arrested on July 19 and made his initial court appearance that day before Magistrate Judge Dulce J. Foster.
McLaughlin was detained pending a detention hearing which was scheduled for July 25 before Judge Foster in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
In a United States District Court criminal complaint, McLaughlin, who was also known by aliases on Snapchat as “Jake Benson”, “LIFT11” and “TECH4CM”, was charged with 4 counts:
• Count 1-Production and Attempted Production of Child Pornography
• Count 2-Child Enticement and Attempted Child Enticement Using a Facility of Interstate Commerce (Internet)
• Count 3-Receipt and Attempted Receipt of Child Pornography
• Count 4-Distribution of Child Pornography.
Count details from the criminal complaint:
Count 1: On or about July 31, 2021, in the District of Minnesota and elsewhere, Caleb Vincent McLaughlin attempted to, and did employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, and coerce Minor Victim 1, approximately 14 years old, to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, to wit, a data file ... a video approximately nine seconds in duration depicting a closely framed view of Minor Victim 1 masturbating and inserting fingers into her vagina, knowing and having reason to know that such visual depiction would be transported using any means and facility of interstate and foreign commerce, transported in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce, and was produced and transmitted using materials that had been mailed, shipped, and transported in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce by any means, including by computer, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2251(a) and (e).
Count 2: From at least on or about June 9, 2022, and continuing through at least on or about December 15, 2022, in the District of Minnesota and elsewhere, Caleb Vincent McLaughlin using a facility and means of interstate and foreign commerce, namely, the Internet, did knowingly attempt to and did persuade, induce, entice, and coerce Minor Victim 2, approximately 14 to15 years old, to engage in prostitution or any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, to wit, Criminal Sexual Conduct in the first, second, and third degrees in violation of Minnesota Statute Sections 609.342.1a(f), 609.342.2(b), 609.343.1a(f), 609.343.2, 609.344.1a(b), and 609.344.2, that occurred in and around Ramsey County, Minnesota, and the production of child pornography in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2251(a), all in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2422(b) and 2427.
Count 3: On or about June 15, 2022, in the District of Minnesota and elsewhere, Caleb Vincent McLaughlin attempted to and did knowingly receive a visual depiction, to wit, a data file ... an image depicting Minor Victim 2, approximately 14 years old, using her fingers to spread the labia and display the vaginal opening. The visual depiction was received using any means or facility of interstate commerce, including by computer, where the production of such visual depiction involved the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and such visual depiction is of such conduct, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(2) and (b)(1).
Count 4: On or about November 23, 2022, in the District of Minnesota and elsewhere, Caleb Vincent McLaughlin did knowingly distribute a visual depiction, to wit, a data file ... a video file approximately 39 seconds in duration, depicting McLaughlin engaged in vaginal intercourse with Minor Victim 3, approximately 15 years old.
The visual depiction was distributed using any means or facility of interstate commerce, including by computer, and the production of such visual depiction involved the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and such visual depiction is of such conduct, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(2) and (b)(1).
The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota, released the following:
A Pine City man has been arrested and charged with soliciting, producing, receiving, and distributing images of child pornography, and enticing a child to engage in illegal sexual activity, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
According to court documents, since at least January 2019, Caleb Vincent McLaughlin, 26, created and used multiple social media accounts and communications applications to solicit and direct minor girls in Minnesota, approximately 11 to 16 years old, to create sexually explicit images and videos to send to him. McLaughlin used a variety of aliases and Snapchat IDs including “Jake Benson,” “Lift11” or “Tech4cm,” in his scheme, and sometimes purported to be 17 years old to prey on minor girls he met online in order to entice and coerce them to create sexually explicit images and videos. In addition to producing child sexual abuse material, McLaughlin would offer minor girls drugs, alcohol, cash, or gift cards in exchange for sex acts.
McLaughlin, who was arrested yesterday (July 19), was charged in a federal criminal complaint with soliciting, producing, receiving, and distributing images of child pornography, and enticing a child to engage in illegal sexual activity. McLaughlin made his initial appearance earlier today before Magistrate Judge Dulce J. Foster. He was ordered preliminarily detained pending a detention hearing. A preliminary and detention hearing is scheduled for July 25, at 9:30 a.m., before Magistrate Judge Dulce J. Foster, in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
To date, law enforcement has identified several minor victims, and is actively attempting to confirm the identity of many others. If you believe you or your minor dependent(s) have been victimized by Caleb McLaughlin, please contact the FBI Tip Line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or tips.fbi.gov.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, with substantial assistance from the St. Paul Police Department, Pine County Sheriff’s Office, and Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hillary A. Taylor is prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The next scheduled hearing for McLaughlin in United States District Court-Minneapolis is on October 11 at 9 a.m. before the Honorable Patrick J. Schiltz, Chief Judge. According to the court schedule, McLaughlin will be seen for an arraignment, an initial hearing and a plea agreement hearing.