A Duluth man faces nine felony charges after allegedly soliciting explicit photographs from two underage girls, using threats of "revenge porn" to coerce sex from one of the victims.
Mitchel Jerome Kasper, 23, was arrested last month after Duluth police initiated an investigation that included multiple tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Authorities said Kasper on multiple occasions threatened to release nude photographs of a now-14-year-old victim unless she complied with his demands for sex.
Separately, police said they learned that Kasper was exchanging sexual messages and pornographic images with an approximately 16-year-old girl in Missouri.
Kasper was arraigned in State District Court on four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, four counts of electronic solicitation or communication with a child and one count of possession of child pornography,
He was later released on a $50,000 bond with several conditions, including no contact with children and no use of the internet without authorization.
According to the complaint:
Duluth police began investigating in March, after the 14-year-old reported her contact with Kasper, whom she had known since she was in third or fourth grade. At some point, the two connected on Instagram and began a relationship, the victim said.
Eventually, she reported, Kasper began requesting nude photos and sex. The victim said she provided Kasper with several photographs and that, in subsequent years, he threatened to "spread them around the internet" and share them with her parents if she ever stopped.
In the summer of 2018, the victim relented to Kasper's threats, agreeing to meet him for sex. After more threats, she agreed to meet again in January 2019.
On July 19, police received the first tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, indicating that the Facebook account belonging to Kasper had uploaded a video containing suspected child pornography a month prior. Investigators said the video showed a prepubescent girl being sexually assaulted by a male.
The second tip came in just three days later, indicating Kasper had been contacting the Missouri girl from October to November 2018. Investigators said the conversation started with innocuous messages before turning to discussion of sexual acts and the exchange of pornographic images and videos.
"Is it bad that I enjoy your age," Kasper allegedly wrote in one message after the girl reported she was 15.
Kasper was arrested after police executed a search warrant at his Duluth residence on Aug. 15. He allegedly made a series of admissions, including the sexual assault of the first victim and the online exchange of sexually explicit messages and child pornography.
Kasper is due back in court on Oct. 15.