MN sex offender charged after threatening to plot murder

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A Minnesota sex offender is facing federal charges after he allegedly threatened to commit a murder conspiracy against his former child sex abuse victim.

Authorities say last spring, 26-year-old Michael Lee Kurkowski of Owatonna had sexually explicit images of a minor and traveled to Pennsylvania to locate the victim. Kurkowski was sentenced to 142 days in prison.

Then last month, investigators say Kurkowski sent messages to the minor outlining a plan to travel to Pennsylvania… where Kurkowski would murder the former victim’s parents, rape his sister, and then kill her in front of the former victim.

Kurkowski was also engaged in the sexual exploitation of a second minor in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Last week, Owatonna investigators learned that Kurkowski had purchased a bus ticket and was heading to Pennsylvania.

The FBI then arrested Kurkowski at a bus stop in Toledo, Ohio, while he was carrying a bag containing heavy flexible handcuffs, a large knife, a taser, rubber gloves and hooded masks.

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(Statement from the US Department of Justice:)

A federal criminal complaint has been filed against an Owatonna sex offender for sending graphic threats detailing a murder plot against his former child sex abuse victim, Acting U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats has announced.

According to court documents, in March 2021, the Upper Allen Township Police Department in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania began investigating 26-year-old Michael Lee Kurkowski regarding the communication and exchange of images sexually explicit statements of a minor. The investigation revealed that Kurkowski possessed sexually explicit images and videos of a minor and knew that his victim was, at the time, a minor under the age of 18. Kurkowski also admitted to traveling to Pennsylvania to locate the minor and attempt to proceed. a “relationship” after the minor tried to end online communications with Kurkowski. On April 14, 2021, Kurkowski was charged in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania with multiple crimes related to the sexual exploitation of the minor and was sentenced to 142 days in jail followed by probation. Kurkowski’s probation terms included, among other things, a requirement to register as a sex offender, refrain from any behavior that could pose a danger to others, and not possess weapons.

According to court documents, in December 2021, law enforcement began investigating Kurkowski’s online communications and sexual exploitation of a minor in East Peoria, Illinois. In January 2022, East Peoria Police Department (EPPD) investigators reviewed multiple messages from Kurkowski to the minor detailing a plan to travel to Pennsylvania where Kurkowski would murder his former victim’s parents, rape his sister, and then kill in front of his former victim. The EPPD also notified the Cedar Falls Police Department after the investigation revealed that Kurkowski also engaged in the sexual exploitation of a second minor in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

According to court documents, on February 4, 2022, Owatonna Police Department investigators learned that Kurkowski had purchased a Greyhound bus ticket and was currently en route to Harrisburg, Pa., the general location of the former victim. of Kurkowski and his family. FBI investigators developed information on Kurkowski’s whereabouts and were able to follow him to a bus stop in Toledo, Ohio, where authorities arrested Kurkowski. According to court documents, during his arrest, Kurkowski had with him a bag containing among other things 16 heavy flexible handcuffs, electrical tape, a taser, a large knife, rubber gloves and hooded masks.

Kurkowski was charged by complaint in the District of Minnesota with one count of threatening interstate communication. Kurkowski made his first appearance yesterday before Magistrate Judge Darrell A. Clay of the Northern District of Ohio, who ordered that Kurkowski be temporarily detained and returned to Minnesota, where he will make his first appearance and have a detention and preliminary hearing. at a later date. .

This case is the result of an investigation by the FBI, the Owatonna Police Department, the Upper Allen Township Police Department (Pennsylvania), the East Peoria Police Department (Illinois), and the Department of Cedar Falls, Iowa police.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. Provinzino is prosecuting the case.

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