Minnesota Man Sentenced for Attempted Possession of Child Pornography During Sturgis Bike Rally

RUSHFORD VILLAGE, MN – United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Rushford Village, Minnesota, man convicted of Attempted Possession of Child Pornography was sentenced on December 18, 2020, by Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court Judge.

Josef Pettit, age 24, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Pettit will also be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

The conviction stemmed from an undercover sex trafficking operation conducted during the 2019 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, targeting internet predators.  Pettit was arrested and federally indicted following multiple text messages he exchanged with a person Pettit believed to be a 15-year-old girl, but who was in fact an undercover agent.  Pettit requested sexually explicit images from the 15-year-old undercover persona and proceeded to negotiate the time and place he would meet the minor.  When Pettit went to the pre-determined location, he was met by law enforcement agents and placed under arrest.

The investigation was conducted by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Rapid City Police Department, and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah B. Collins prosecuted the case.


Pettit was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

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