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National Guard sergeant faces multiple charges of sex crimes against minors

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Eric Sansburn, a sergeant in the North Dakota Army National Guard’s military police unit, pleaded not guilty in Grand Forks on Friday to federal charges that he committed sex crimes against children for years.

The allegations include interstate transport of underage girls for sexual purposes, producing pornographic videos of a minor girl and possessing child pornography showing victims as young as 6.

Sansburn, 29, grew up in Grand Forks. If convicted of the charges, he faces up to life in prison and mandatory minimum sentences of up to 15 years.

A federal grand jury’s indictment of Sansburn on eight felony counts was filed Wednesday and he was arraigned Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alice Senechal.

Sansburn has been investigated by Grand Forks police since September on similar charges involving some of the same victims. The state charges included more detailed allegations, including that he engaged in sexual acts with several of the underage victims.

As in most such cases, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also got involved in what became a joint investigation. Typically, local and federal prosecutors decide together which jurisdiction takes up any particular case.

This week, local prosecutors dismissed all state charges against him this week as the feds moved in.