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Sleepy Eye man faces four sexual conduct with child charges

Involving underage female

SLEEPY EYE — Four felony online sexual conduct charges involving an underage girl were filed against a 37-year-old Sleepy Eye man in Brown County District Court Tuesday.

Shawn James Severson was charged with two counts of engaging in electronic communication relating or describing sexual conduct with a child and two counts of distributing material that relates/describes sexual conduct to a child. A bail hearing was set for 9 a.m. June 12.

According to court documents, Sleepy Eye Police Investigator Shawn Bohnen learned on May 3 that a female age 15 or younger was receiving inappropriate communications from Severson. The girl said Severson made sexualized jokes and gave her free gifts before she blocked him on social media.

Investigator Bohnen received two screenshots of inappropriate messages the girl received from Severson plus information related to the message content.

On May 9, Investigator Bohnen found an image of Severson on social media. A witness positively identified the image as the person associating with the girl and her friends. A forensic interview for the girl was arranged at the Mankato Child and Family Advocacy Center (CFAC).

In a May 13 forensic interview, the girl said she met Severson through friends who work at a Sleepy Eye restaurant where Severson also worked and that she met him twice. First, when she told him she was 12 years old, then in March or April at a park when she told him she was 13 years old.

The girl said Severson claimed to be 22 years old and that during a second meeting, a friend gave Severson the girl’s Snapchat (photo messaging) information. The girl said Severson sent her inappropriate Snapchats.

Investigator Bohnen drafted search warrants for the girl’s and Severson’s Snapchat user accounts that were approved. He recovered four Snapchats between the girl and Severson, one of which was important to the investigation due to its sexual suggestion.

Investigator Bohnen arrested Severson June 10 in Sleepy Eye and transported him to the Brown County Jail.

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