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Charges: Hastings Man Abused Child, 5, Made Child Porn

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(credit: Dakota County)

(credit: Dakota County)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two 24-year-olds from Hastings face charges for allegedly abusing — and neglecting the abuse of — a 5-year-old and using the child in making pornography, the Dakota County Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Matthew Cortes and Amanda Hughes, a couple, face a combined total of eight charges, most of which are felonies, according to James Backstrom, the county attorney. The crimes in question allegedly happened between November 2011 and October 2012 in both Washington and Dakota counties.

The charges say Cortes abused the child, filmed it and later distributed the recordings. They also say that Hughes knew the abuse was taking place but failed to protect the child.

Backstrom said an FBI probe found that someone at the residence where Cortes and Hughes live had emailed child porn to an account in another country. Hastings authorities then joined the FBI in executing a search warrant at Cortes and Hughes’ home and arresting them.

“The sexual abuse of any child and the production of pornographic work involving children is always extremely disturbing,” Backstrom said. “The sexual abuse of a child in this manner can cause long lasting physical and emotional trauma.”

The child is now in the custody of Dakota County Child Protection.

Charges:

Cortes faces three felonies: one count of first-degree sexual conduct; one count of using a minor for sexual performance; and one of child porn possession.

Hughes faces three felonies and two gross misdemeanors. The felonies: one count of possessing child porn; one of child endangerment; and one of neglect. The misdemeanors: one of child endangerment and one of neglect.

Cortes and Hughes made their first court appearances Friday. Cortes’ bail was set at $250,000 with conditions; Hughes’ bail was set at $15,000 with conditions.

Both are slated to appear in court on Nov. 20.

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