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Sanford Surgeon Arrested For Sex Trafficking Also Facing Child Porn Charges

The Sanford Health Surgeon arrested for having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old runaway from Georgia has been indicted by a grand jury. The Sioux Falls man is facing additional counts of human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and promoting prostitution. There are also some new charges added to the list.

Indicted on Wednesday, 36-year-old Jonathan Cohen is facing 21 charges. The most recent: contributing to the neglect of a child and possessing child pornography.

“If we’re talking about doing forensics on computers or laptops, that takes time,” said Officer Sam Clemens. “Once they do that forensic audit of that equipment, it’s pretty likely there’s going to be some charges and it’s not going to happen right off the bat.”

Police say the doctor met the teen on an online dating site, where the 16-year-old was posing as a 20-year-old. They say Cohen paid for the teen’s plane tickets to travel from Georgia to stay with him in his downtown apartment in September and October. According to court documents, they had sex several times and he gave her money. They also say Cohen caused or permitted the creation of child pornography and knowingly possessed or distributed child pornography between August and October.

Clemens said, “Child pornography by definition is any type of images where there’s some nudity or suggestive posing.”

While 16 is the age of consent in South Dakota, having or possessing lewd pictures of someone under the age of 18 is against the law.

Clemens said, “Legally its okay for an adult can have sex with a consenting 16-year-old, but if they take video or pictures of that 16-year-old then they’re in possession of child pornography.”

Authorities say that the girl felt obligated to have sex with Cohen, that’s where the human trafficking charges come from.

According to court documents, the girl and several officers testified to the grand jury. Cohen had a hearing on Oct. 13, where a judge reduced his bond from $1 million down to $500,000. He posted bond the next day.

Cohen currently has his medical license under investigation and has voluntarily refrained from practicing. He is expected to appear again in court on Oct. 26.

Source:http://www.kdlt.com/news/local-news/sanford-surgeon-arrested-for-sex-trafficking-also-facing-child-porn-charges/42188284

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