Iron Range couple accused of sexually abusing toddler – Duluth News Tribune

VIRGINIA – An investigation into the dissemination of child pornography online reportedly led to a woman’s admission that she and her boyfriend sexually assaulted a child on multiple occasions.

Mountain Iron’s Andrew Michael Nelson, 41, and Darla Jean Queen, 34, were charged with four felonies in state district court on Friday.

Andrew Michael Nelson.jpg

Andrew Michael Nelson

Court documents say the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension first contacted the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 3, pointing out that Nelson had uploaded five photos online showing adults performing sexual acts on an infant or young child .

The indictment states that investigators on Wednesday obtained a search warrant and confiscated numerous computers, phones, tablets and electronic storage devices from Nelson’s home. Some devices appeared to have been freshly damaged, the criminal complaints said.

Nelson reportedly admitted to uploading each of the images but denied ever engaging in sexual activity with children or taking any such photos.

While Nelson was making the statement, Queen came home and spoke to officials afterwards. The prosecution claims she confessed to viewing child pornography with Nelson – “everything from toddlers to teenagers and even older” – with Nelson in the past four months – but initially denied molesting a child.

Darla Jean Queen.jpg

Darla Jean Queen

After further questioning, the complaints said, Queen admitted that the couple had twice attacked an infant they were babysitting in the past few months.

Queen reportedly told investigators that Nelson would admit his role, but he continued to deny the abuse when investigators brought them together at the apartment. The complaints say he told Queen she was being “mentally manipulated” and that she should “imagine what her life will be like in the future”.

Queen reportedly continued to ask Nelson to be honest, explaining that there was video of them with the child on a laptop confiscated by police.

“But we could have put things right and gotten good lawyers and things balanced,” Nelson reportedly told his girlfriend, claiming all he knew was child pornography.

Investigators said Nelson made several comments about the suicide and asked them to “give him a day” before he was sent to jail.

The complaints say Queen provided law enforcement with access codes for various devices and said a more thorough review of the evidence was pending Friday.

Nelson and Queen are each charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and the manufacture and possession of child pornography. If convicted, they could face significant prison terms, with the highest accused each carrying a maximum sentence of 12 years.

A review of court records reveals that Nelson has some criminal records, including domestic assault, restraining order violations and theft – but all more than a decade ago. Queen has no history outside of traffic violations.

Judge Michael Cuzzo set bail for Nelson at $250,000 and Queen at $100,000. Both are expected in court on November 7th.


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