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Federal pornography charges filed against former gymnastics coach

George Francis Deppa, 48, is facing child sex assault charges in Douglas and St. Louis counties.

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SUPERIOR — A Superior man facing child sex assault charges in Douglas County has been indicted in federal court for producing images depicting sexual abuse of a minor.

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George Deppa

George Francis Deppa, 48, is charged with three counts of production of child pornography. The indictment was announced by Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger Thursday, May 19.

Deppa coerced a 15-year-old minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction in May 2008, according to court documents. He is expected to make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court at a later date.

Deppa, a former gymnastics coach, is also facing child sex assault charges involving a number of victims in Douglas County Circuit Court, stemming from incidents in 2020 and 2021, and St. Louis County District Court.

The pornography case was the result of a nationwide Department of Justice initiative to combat child sexual exploitation, Project Safe Childhood, which seeks to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims. The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Duluth Police Department, with assistance from the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office and the Douglas County Attorney’s Office.

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Based on the evidence obtained in the investigation, authorities believe there may be additional victims. Anyone with information about this matter is encouraged to call the FBI Minneapolis Division at (218) 722-3341.

Deppa remained in custody at the Douglas County Jail Monday, May 23. His next Douglas County court appearance has been set for Aug. 29, with a jury trial scheduled for Sept. 27. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 40 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000 on each of the child sex assault charges.

MORE CRIME AND COURTS COVERAGE:

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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