ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Cottage Grove man pleaded guilty today to production, attempted production, and possession of child pornography, announced Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk.
According to court documents, between June 2019 and April 2020, Peter James Monson, 38, engaged in “catfishing” by taking on false personas in order to communicate with children on the internet, including via Snapchat. Monson made a fake Snapchat profile of a 16-year-old girl named “Brianna” and asked minor girls to create sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves to send to Monson so they could be rated by others as “princesses.” In order to participate as a “princess,” Monson used “Brianna’s” profile to instruct the girls to follow certain rules, including creating and sending images and videos of the girls nude or engaging in sex acts.
According to court documents, in April 2020, Monson also used his iPhone to make a secret recording of an eight-year-old while the child was getting dressed.
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. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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.projectsafechildhood.gov.
If you know of any child who may have been a victim of exploitation, please call the National Center for Missing or Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or visit NCMEC’s web site at www.missingkids.com.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI Minneapolis Field Office, the FBI Philadelphia Field Office, the Cottage Grove Police Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Miranda E. Dugi.