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Date: 08-10-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Cody John O’Hara

Case Number:

Judge: Peter Welte

Court: United States District Court for the District of North Dakota (Fargo County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Fargo

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Fargo, North Dakota criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with Receipt of Materials Containing Child Pornography and Failure to Register as a Sex Offender.

This case came to the attention of law enforcement after a United States Probation Officer discovered child pornography on O’Hara’s cellphone. Cody John O’Hara, age 35, of Cavalier, North Dakota, was previously convicted of Possession and Receipt of Materials Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors in U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota in 2012. He was sentenced to 78 months incarceration followed by a five-year term of supervised release and was required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act


Following his period of incarceration, O’Hara began residing Fargo during which time he was subject to the supervision of a U.S. Probation Officer. Beginning in the summer of 2021 and continuing through early 2022, the U.S. Probation Officer made several unannounced visits to O’Hara’s registered address, but she was unable to locate him there. The U.S. Probation Officer eventually discovered that he was living at a girlfriend’s residence in Moorhead, Minnesota. Thereafter, O’Hara was ordered to report to the U.S. Probation Office, after which his probation officer requested to view his cellphone. O’Hara initially lied about having his cellphone with him, but upon further questioning O’Hara eventually admitted that it was in his car hidden under the seat.

The cell phone was later searched by the U.S. Probation Officer pursuant to his conditions of supervised release. During this search, the U.S. Probation Officer located child pornography and O’Hara’s cell phone was later forensically examined by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations. This examination revealed nearly 500 images and videos of child pornography. Following an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, it was discovered that one of the children depicted in the child pornography images recovered from O’Hara’s phone was a child located in Minnesota, whom O’Hara was sexually abusing.

“This decades-long sentence protects children in North Dakota and beyond,” Schneider said. “As this case shows, criminals who exploit children will be swiftly dealt with by law enforcement, prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office, and sent to federal prison. Keeping kids safe is a priority of the highest order for our state and federal law enforcement partners.”

“Exploitation of children is a reprehensible crime we at Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) work tirelessly to combat,” said Jamie Holt, HSI St. Paul Special Agent in Charge. “O’Hara’s sentencing highlights the fact that predators will inevitably face significant penalties for their crimes that leave victims and families traumatized. HSI St. Paul will continue to fight against the exploitation of children and support victims by providing critical resources and services.”

This case was investigated by North Dakota BCI, Homeland Security and Investigations and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s office, with First Assistant United States Jennifer Klemetsrud-Puhl assigned to the case.

Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 29 years' imprisonment.

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