A North Dakota sheriff’s deputy has been arrested after he was allegedly found to be in possession of child pornography.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) said Michael John Hull, 24, of Devil’s Lake was arrested on Thursday, January 12.
In a Facebook post on Friday, an RCSD spokesperson said the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation took Hull into custody for possession of “certain materials prohibited”—a felony-level offense.
It added: “The investigation is still active and ongoing and information will be released as it becomes available.
“Michael John Hull has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation.
“The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department will continue to fully assist the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation in their investigation.”
Possession of certain prohibited materials is a Class C felony under North Dakota law and a person guilty of the offense can face up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
According to a study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health that was published in the journal Sexual Abuse, an estimated $5.4 billion was spent at the state and federal levels in 2021 to incarcerate people convicted of sex crimes against children.
There were 127,282 people incarcerated in state prisons for sex offenses involving children in 2021. The study also found there were 12,850 inmates in federal prisons for child sex offenses. The study also cited research that said more than 10 percent of children worldwide “will experience some form of sexual abuse before they turn 18.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about one in four girls and one in 13 boys in the U.S. experience child sexual abuse.
It added: “Someone known and trusted by the child or child’s family members, perpetrates 91 percent of child sexual abuse.”
An affidavit obtained by the Grand Forks Herald said Hull allegedly uploaded child pornography to Google Drive. The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation received a tip from Google in November 2022. Still according to the affidavit, some 249 child pornography images were found.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office said that Hull had been placed on administrative leave, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
No additional images were initially found on the devices that police seized from Hull. The affidavit did state Hull was found to be in group chats with names that are “associated with child pornography,” according to the publication.
Hull is due to appear in court for a bond hearing on Tuesday, January 17.
Newsweek has contacted the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department for comment.