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Steven Augustinack, Brainerd citizen of the year, is guilty of kiddie-porn charges

Steven Augustinack was named Brainerd Citizen of the Year by the local Junior Chamber Jaycees last October, in part for his work with groups like Youth as Resources and the Sertoma Camp Confidence Club for deaf and hard of hearing children.

A month later, Augustinack was charged with 28 felony counts of possession of child pornography. When the Junior Chamber was asked about the charges in the media, Augustinack announced he wouldn't accept the award.

According to the complaint, Minneapolis police officers working on a child-porn investigation downloaded six videos from an IP address belonging to Augustinack last June. Local police executed a search warrant at Augustinack's Baxter home, where they found some 75,000 videos on hard drives. Of these, 28 contained suspected child pornography.

Yesterday Augustinack pleaded guilty to 18 counts in a deal that keeps him out of prison. Under the terms of the deal, Augustinack will do six months in jail followed by probation.

Why such a light sentence when the charges would have carried five years in prison and $5,000 in fines if Augustinack had gone to trial? We're still waiting to hear from the Itasca County Attorney's Office, which handled the prosecution because of a conflict of interest with the Crow Wing County Attorney.

Todd Webb, the assistant county attorney who handled the plea deal, told the Brainerd Dispatch that he was willing to soften the five-year prison term that the charges would usually carry because "Augustinack accepted responsibility and admitted to the facts listed in the 18 counts of possession of pornographic work involving a minor."


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