A 74-year-old Cloquet man is accused of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old child.
Edward D. Christian was charged in Carlton County District Court on Feb. 18 with six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Prosecutors say he knew the victim and the victim's family, well enough that he would sometimes FaceTime with the child.
It was a video chat on Feb. 13 that tipped off the victim's parents, according to the criminal complaint. On that day, they noticed Christian sending the 6-year-old pornographic images over FaceTime on Feb. 13. They immediately ended the call and asked the child whether he'd done it before and whether he'd touched them, to which the child replied yes to both, the charges state.
The parents contacted police and on Feb. 16, the victim was interviewed at First Witness Child Advocacy Center. During the interview, the child said Christian had more than once shown her pornographic images on his tablet, according to the charges. He also asked to see the victim's private parts, took photos of their private parts, and sexually assaulted the victim in his camper, including on their birthday, the charges allege.
The child told police that Christian said to keep it a secret, the complaint alleges.
Christian's spouse reported him missing on Feb. 15, in the days after she gave his laptop and tablet to police. He'd left the evening of Feb. 13 and never returned home, the charges state.
A warrant was issued for his arrest on Feb. 18 when charges were filed. He was booked into Carlton County Jail shortly before 5 a.m. on Feb. 19, according to jail records, after being arrested by a local police department.
Christian had a bail hearing on Tuesday. He was granted a public defender and the court issued no contact order. An initial court appearance in the case is set for March 8.