Moorhead man gets 17 1/2 years in federal prison for trying to arrange sex with young girl

Court docs also alleged James VanRaden Jr. spied on a naked child in the bathroom.

James Van Raden
Booking photo / Cass County Jail

FARGO — A Moorhead man has been sentenced to 17 ½ years behind bars after he tried to arrange for a young girl to have sex with him and spied on a child in a bathroom.

North Dakota Federal Judge Peter Welte sentenced 48-year-old James Duane Van Raden Jr. to 210 months in federal prison on Thursday, June 9, in Fargo’s federal courthouse. He previously pleaded guilty to one count each of attempted sex trafficking of children, attempted coercion and enticement of a minor and distribution of child porn.

A second distributing child porn charge was dismissed.

Court documents alleged Van Raden tried to pay $200 to sexually abuse a 10-year-old girl after answering a Craigslist ad in Dec. 4, 2019, for someone to tutor the child. The ad was part of an undercover operation, according to a news release announcing the sentencing. A West Fargo detective acted as the girl's father, court documents said.

Van Raden continued conversations about trying to arrange “to engage in commercial sex” with the girl for seven months, the release said. He also sent the undercover officer child porn, the release said.


Court documents also said Van Raden recorded and took pictures of a nude child through a hole in the door of a bathroom. He sent the detective a screenshot of the child on the toilet, according to a criminal complaint.

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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