Man pleads guilty to producing child sexual abuse material

Aug. 26—ST. PAUL — A man originally charged in Kandiyohi County has now pleaded guilty in federal court to producing sexually explicit images of a minor.

U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger announced Friday in a news release that Andrew John Groen, 35, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court before Judge Jerry W. Blackwell to one count of production and attempted production of child pornography. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later time.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release that Groen in November 2022 contacted a minor using the messaging application TextMe, according to the defendant's guilty plea and court documents. Groen, who knew the child was a minor, identified himself in messages as a 19-year-old man named "Tyler."

According to the news release, Groen on multiple occasions coerced the minor to send sexually explicit images. Groen also sent the minor obscene images and links to pornography, and encouraged the minor to have sex with an adult man identified in messages.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Willmar Police Department, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Hillary A. Taylor is prosecuting the case, according to the news release.

The U.S. Attorney's Office news release identified Groen as a Kandiyohi County man. Publicly available state court records show a Prinsburg address in 2010.

Some 2015 and 2016 Minnesota court documents list a rural Renville address, but the most recent state court documents show Cold Spring and Royalton addresses.

A Royalton address was listed in January 2023 when he was charged in Kandiyohi County with one felony count of distributing to a child, via electronic communication, material that describes sexual conduct.

The complaint filed in Kandiyohi County District Court detailed Groen contacting a 13-year-old juvenile who resided in Willmar.

The Kandiyohi County case was dismissed by the prosecutor in June after Groen was indicted in the same matter in federal court.