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Suspect in child porn investigation released on bond, ordered to have no contact with anyone under age 18

LEWISTON / WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) — An Eyota man working as the Information Technology director at Lewiston-Altura High School has been charged with four felonies in a child pornography investigation.

Dane Taylor Austin, 23, was arrested Thursday morning at Lewiston-Altura High School and an investigator seized his MacBook in his office at the school.

Austin admitted to an investigator that his MacBook had “a lot” of child porn on it.

But according to the criminal complaint in the case, Austin denied manufacturing child pornography or having any hidden cameras in the school buildings.

Austin faces two counts of Dissemination of Pornographic Work Involving Minors and two counts of Possession of Pornographic Work Involving Minors.

Austin is accused of sharing 40 porn files last December 29 with an undercover FBI agent while at a physical location in St. Charles, using peer-to-peer software known as BitTorrent.

In District Court in Winona Friday morning, Judge Mary Leahy set unconditional bail at $50,000 for Austin, but set bail if certain conditions are met at $5,000.  Those conditions include “No Access To or Use of Internet Without Approval” and that he is not to possess or use any pornographic or sexually explicit material.  Austin was also ordered not to have any contact with anyone under age 18.

As of Friday evening, Austin was no longer being held in the Winona County Adult Detention Center.

Noel Sederstrom

Noel Sederstrom joined the KTTC-TV staff as News Director in February, 2008. He’s a native Minnesotan, having grown up on a farm near Litchfield, and also spending a lot of time on Lake Vermilion near Tower-Soudan, where his grandfather Gust Saari worked in the Soudan Underground Mine.

After studying journalism at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, Noel worked as a reporter, anchor, producer and Executive Producer at television stations in Duluth, Little Rock, Buffalo, Louisville and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Noel was the News Director at WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo for seven of his 18 years at the CBS affiliate before returning to Minnesota. He and his wife Cindy have two grown children and make their home in Rochester.

Email Noel at nsederstrom@kttc.com

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