Riley_Coon

Sentencing is set for Tuesday, June 8, for a 21-year-old New Auburn man who pled guilty Friday, April 9, to one of two felony child pornography possession charges, according to Barron County Circuit Court records.

In a deal with county prosecutors, Riley D. Coon, of New Auburn, agreed to plead guilty to a charge filed against him in June of 2020, following an investigation by the Barron County Sheriff’s Department, the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the Washington, D.C.-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

In exchange, prosecutors asked the court to drop a second child pornography possession charge filed against Coon last month.

Coon was ordered to jail immediately after entering the plea. At sentencing, he could face up to a 40-year prison term, court documents said.

Prosecutors and investigators were asked to comment about how cases like this one are investigated, who begins the process, what kind of training is involved and how law enforcement and prosecutors work together with Internet providers and other web-based resources.

Detective Jason Hagen, with the Barron County Sheriff’s Department, emailed a written response to the questions.

Hagen said that most sheriff’s departments have at least one investigator who is part of the State’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Investigators are assigned child pornography/exploitation cases by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, he added.

Wisconsin and other states receive complaints from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a nonprofit founded in the mid-1980s by the parents of child murder victim Adam Walsh, of Florida.

The center’s mission is to find missing children, and to reduce or prevent child sexual exploitation and abductions. The center has regional offices in Texas, Florida and New York.

According to Hagen, the center gets its information from social media and internet service providers, then turns that information over to the appropriate state agency, in this case, the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

“The state will, typically, do some investigating through (the) legal process to narrow down the location (and/or) suspect, and then forward it to the local agency,” he said.

Hagen said the state provides specialized training to enable the investigators to do their work.

“Most cases are very time consuming and use considerable resources because they typically involve multiple agencies and occasionally require specific resources,” he said.

“They also, typically, require a considerable amount of legal process by way of search warrants, court orders and subpoenas, most of which are prepared by law enforcement,” Hagen added.

Things might take longer, but investigators do get cooperation from other sources, he said.

“Fortunately, for law enforcement and society as a whole, there is little argument from social media and internet companies that the sexual exploitation of children is a horrible thing, and most of those companies cooperate with law enforcement, as long as legal process is utilized,” he said.