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Dickinson man sentenced to 3 years probation for child pornography charge

Austin Edward Johnson Green, 20, has been convicted of promoting obscenity to a minor, a class C felony. The victim was 12 years old.

Stark County Courthouse
Stark County Courthouse.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press
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DICKINSON — Austin Edward Johnson Green, 20, was recently convicted of a child pornography charge in Southwest District Court. As previously reported, Green engaged in lascivious communications with a 12 year-old girl via Snapchat. He used the smartphone application to send the victim a nude photograph of himself, and received a picture of her genitals as well. He also exchanged lewd SMS text messages with the girl from early July 2022 until Aug. 17 when a concerned citizen alerted Dickinson Police. Green is a Washington state native who was living in Dickinson at the time of his arrest.

The case was prosecuted by Stark County Assistant State’s Attorney Peter Morowski. Green was represented by Public Defender Kevin McCabe. The Dec. 20 pretrial conference and Jan. 11 felony jury trial were canceled when Morowski and McCabe reached a written plea agreement, obviating the necessity for a sentencing hearing. The defendant pled guilty to the charge of promoting obscenity to minors, a class C felony.

Judge Dann Greenwood sentenced Green to five years in prison with all five suspended and three years of supervised probation. He must file proof of a psycho-sexual evaluation within 90 days of Dec. 20 and comply with whatever treatment is recommended. Green is also subject to $1,525 in court fees and fines.

The terms of his probation prohibit him from consuming alcohol or possessing firearms, demand periodic drug testing, regular communication with a probation officer, allow random searches of his residence and require him to obtain permission before leaving the state among other requirements. He cannot have any contact with the victim or her family members.

Austin Johnson Green
Austin Edward Johnson Green.
Contributed / SWMCC

Per North Dakota Century Code subsection 12.1-27.1-03.1, being convicted of promoting obscenity to minors does not require Green to register as a sex offender. Despite this, Morowski said he believes the judgment will still enable the state to sufficiently mitigate any further threat this man could pose to children.

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“If he doesn't comply he's got five years of suspended time hanging over his head, we can revoke his probation and send him to prison. But I think addressing any potential underlying issue through the psychosexual evaluation is more important than him sitting in prison,” Morowski said. “Obviously, if he engages in this behavior again he will not be looking at a suspended sentence. There’s no more chances on that.”

He added that crimes of this nature cannot be tolerated in Stark County.

“I don't think it's appropriate, sending images like that, and I certainly wouldn't want I wouldn't want kids to see that,” Morowski said. “This kind of stuff, we do take seriously. We wanted to get him convicted of a felony.”

The Dickinson Police Department urges parents to be vigilant in monitoring their child’s internet usage, explaining potential dangers to them and taking advantage of parental control features on devices they have access to. Adjusting privacy settings, particularly on social media accounts, can reduce the risk of a pedophile easily determining a child’s location.

Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge. His reporting focuses on Stark County government and surrounding rural communities.
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