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Trial set for Grand Island teen in human trafficking, child porn case

(KSNB)
Published: Mar. 10, 2020 at 2:37 PM CDT
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The student at the center of a Grand Island human trafficking and child porn investigation said Tuesday that he's not guilty of any of the 17 sex crimes he's accused of.

Max Rookstool, 17, is charged with one count of first degree sexual assault, two counts of human trafficking, two counts of human trafficking of a minor, 11 counts of visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct and one count of unlawful distribution of images or videos of another person’s intimate area.

Court records show the alleged crimes took place between Aug. 1, 2018, and Oct. 4, 2019. All but one of the charges are felonies. Each carries a max penalty of anywhere from four years to life in prison.

Tuesday, Rookstool pleaded not guilty to every charge. A judge scheduled a pretrial hearing for Rookstool in May and scheduled a jury trial for June 15.

Rookstool's bond had been set at $750,000. A judge Tuesday reduced it to $400,000, on the conditions that Rookstool not use a smart phone, tablet, computer or other electronic devices except for school. Rookstool is also ordered to use no social media and will be confined to his home except for school, health care or counseling.

Police said Rookstool sent multiple nude images of children, who have been identified, and confirmed to be under the age of 19 years old without their consent. He used threat and/or coercion to have a minor engage in a sexually explicit performances and for the production of child pornography. And he also used these same unlawful means to have an adult engage in unwanted sexual activity and for the production of pornography.

Numerous images have been identified as students at Rookstool's school.

Brian Mohr, a former teacher at Grand Island Northwest, is also charged in connection with the case. He faces 11 counts of possession of child pornography. GIPD said Mohr was found to be in possession of 34 images of child pornography. The identities and ages of these victims have been verified, and are confirmed to be under the age of 19 years old. Mohr admitted to investigators that he knew he was in possession child pornography. An evidence hearing for Mohr is scheduled next month.

Rookstool and Mohr were arrested in cooperation with

, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators, sponsored by Homeland Security Investigations.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.