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Hudson man accused in child porn case

A Hudson man searched for and downloaded hours of child pornography videos, according to charges filed last month in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

The St. Croix County Attorney's Office charged 73-year-old John E. Nerbonne with five counts of felony child porn possession. He made his initial court appearance June 27, where he was released on a signature bond in advance of a July 21 preliminary hearing.

According to a criminal complaint:

Authorities first turned their attention to Nerbonne in 2012 after Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation agents downloaded child porn being shared over a network by a computer associated with Nerbonne's former business, Vixx Converting. Agents learned the web nickname related to the files was associated with Nerbonne.

Agents searched computers in 2014 that Nerbonne used before selling the company, but no child porn was found and no charges were filed at the time.

Nerbonne's name resurfaced in February 2016 when DCI agents came across a network user sharing 14 suspicious files. Agents subpoenaed records for that internet address, which was registered to Nerbonne's home.

State agents, along with St. Croix County sheriff's deputies, executed a search warrant in May 2016 at Nerbonne's home, where he was interviewed by authorities.

He initially denied knowing of the file sharing networks where he was accused of accessing child porn. Told that he'd been identified in a previous child porn investigation, Nerbonne confirmed he was aware of that case.

Confronted with the new evidence, Nerbonne replied "To the best of my knowledge, I have no child pornography."

He later admitted to unintentionally downloading child porn, saying he deleted the files and never shared them.

Nerbonne admitted knowing the term "PTHC" — an acronym for "pre-teen hardcore" — and said he found it listed in files he'd previously downloaded. He later admitted using the search term, but denied liking child porn; he said the term often returned adult porn files.

A forensic examination of files found in six digital storage devices seized at Nerbonne's house turned up 45 child porn videos and "several hundred" file-sharing download records, along with evidence of the term "PTHC" being searched.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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