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Grand Forks man charged with exchanging child porn, transporting kids with intent to sexually abuse them

Court documents detail the child porn files allegedly found on electronic devices owned by Nicholas Morgan-Derosier.

NICHOLAS MORGAN-DEROSIER.jpg
Nicholas Morgan-Derosier.
Grand Forks County Jail photo
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FARGO — Federal prosecutors have accused a Grand Forks landscaping business owner of having thousands of child porn files, exchanging those images with others and taking two children from the Twin Cities area to Grand Forks with the intent of sexually abusing them.

A grand jury in North Dakota’s U.S. District Court has indicted Nicholas James Morgan-Derosier, 34, on charges of receiving and distributing child porn, transporting child porn, transporting minors with intent for those children to engage in sexual activity, and traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual activity. He also faces six counts of possessing child porn.

The federal public defender's office is representing Morgan-Derosier, and a message left Friday with that office seeking comment on the charges was not immediately returned.

Court documents that were unsealed Wednesday, Jan. 12, detail the child porn files allegedly found on electronic devices owned by Morgan-Derosier. A criminal complaint filed last month also mentions sexually explicit conversations in which he allegedly described sexually abusing two young boys he knew.

Grand Forks police confiscated several cellphones, computers, hard drives and thumb drives from Morgan-Derosier’s home in September 2020, a criminal complaint said. Morgan-Derosier had been ordered to stop doing business in North Dakota as Team Lawn, a landscaping company, and Vaughn Construction Inc. in June 2019 after the state attorney general’s office received complaints he was taking money for work he didn’t do.

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Despite the ban, Morgan-Derosier continued to operate his business, which prompted investigators to obtain a search warrant for evidence of violating the judicial order and construction fraud, the complaint said.

Morgan-Derosier pleaded guilty in August in Grand Forks County District Court to charges of issuing a check or draft without an account and disobedience of a judicial order. Other charges, including construction fraud, were dismissed. He was ordered to serve 10 days in jail.

Investigators said in the federal complaint they found more than 6,500 images, files and videos of suspected child porn. They also found on his laptop and cellphone nude images of two children Morgan-Derosier knew in his Grand Forks bathroom and a pool locker room, the complaint alleged.

One witness told investigators the locker room possibly looked like one at a YMCA in Maple Grove, Minnesota, the complaint said.

The nude images of the children he knew, taken between Feb. 2, 2020, and April 22, 2020, do not meet the definition of child porn, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Child porn has to depict sexually explicit conduct involving a minor, federal law states.

The complaint alleged Morgan-Derosier took the two children, who were at the time less than 10 years old, from the Twin Cities area to his Grand Forks home for several days without their mother's permission in March 2020. He returned the children, the complaint said.

Neither of the boys disclosed sexual abuse to investigators, but when asked about Morgan-Derosier, one pulled his stocking cap over his head and sobbed, according to the complaint.

Investigators discovered electronic messages Morgan-Derosier allegedly exchanged with others. The complaint alleged that Morgan-Derosier said in those messages that he liked young boys and described sexual acts he did with the two boys he knew.

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He allegedly exchanged child porn with others between July 2018 and September 2020, according to the complaint.

It's unclear how many others could face prosecution in this case, but at least one other person has been charged in another state, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

If convicted on the most serious charge, receipt or distribution of child pornography, Morgan-Derosier could face a minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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