Carson Tonini, Minot, charged with promoting a sexual performance by a minor

Carson Judd Tonini, 18, Minot, is accused of taking a picture of a 17-year-old girl while they were having sex without her permission and then texting it to another man.

He is charged with promoting a sexual performance by a minor, a Class B felony, in district court in Minot. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. If convicted, he would also be required to register as a sex offender.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed with the court, the pair had sex in May. The alleged victim, who was 17 at the time but turned 18 about two months later, then started hanging out with another young man and Tonini became jealous. She said Tonini sent the other man a sexually explicit photo on Snapchat followed by a verbal text that said “That’s her btw (by the way).” The alleged victim told police she did not know Tonini had taken a picture and had not consented to him taking the picture.

Tonini allegedly admitted to police that he sent the picture, but he denies that it was a picture of the alleged victim. He told police he only said it was the alleged victim to make the other man angry. Police obtained a record of a message exchange between Tonini and another person where he allegedly admitted sending the photo of the girl to the other man and said he was nervous about being reported to police. Tonini told the other person he deleted nude photos off his phone, according to the affidavit.

Tonini made an initial appearance in district court in Minot before Judge Stacy Louser on Wednesday.

The state asked for bond to be set at $25,000 cash or corporate surety; Tonini’s attorney Ryan Sandberg said $5,000 cash or corporate surety would be more appropriate. Sandberg noted that the purpose of bond is to ensure that the defendant shows up in court and under state guidelines Tonini should actually be given an unsecured appearance bond. Sandberg noted that Tonini has no criminal history, that he is a college student and that his family lives in the community. Sandberg also told the judge that Tonini will vehemently deny the charge.

Louser set bond at $25,000 cash or corporate surety, ordered Tonini to stay away from the alleged victim, and ordered that he not use electronics except if it is for educational purposes such as taking exams.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Oct. 11.

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