Police Officer Arrested for Allegedly Exchanging Nude Photos With Teen While on Duty

Shannon Northbird was charged with felony possession of pornographic work and gross misdemeanor misconduct by a public employee.

A Minnesota police officer was arrested after he was allegedly found to be in possession of pornographic images of a teen he sexted while on duty, authorities said.

Leech Lake Tribal Police Officer Shannon Larry Northbird, 38, began communicating online and through text with a 17-year-old girl around March 2016 after he saw her dancing at an event where he was working security, an agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension wrote in a criminal complaint.

Through two Facebook accounts, Snapchat, and text message, Northbird and the girl spoke from May 17 through July 18 “in a very sexual manner,” and at times sent each other nude photos, according to the complaint by the Minnesota Department of Public Security.

On June 14, when Northbird asked the girl what she was going to get him for his birthday, she allegedly replied with topless photos that officials said were of herself and a friend.

Like in previous instances, Northbird allegedly asked for more pictures.

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The girl told police that it was around that time that she began sending Northbird photos of her private parts, police said. He also sent her explicit photos, authorities said.

"When asked how many nude images she had sent to defendant, she stated ‘too many to count,'" the complaint read.

Investigators said Northbird had received about 1,000 nude photos of the girl.

“A majority of the dialogue between [the girl] and him was about sex,” the complaint said.

Northbird told officials that he never met the girl in person, but talked about getting together, and said that she had told him that she was 19.

But authorities noted that there was no discussion of the girl’s age in any of the text messages seized, and the girl said he knew her age “because he is a police officer,” the complaint said.

Investigators found that in June 2015, Northbird had allegedly viewed a Leech Lake Tribal Police case involving the girl, which also indicated her age.

“[Northbird] was not listed as an officer who responded or investigated the case,” the complaint noted.

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Northbird also viewed Snapchats from the girl while on duty on three separate occasions, allegedly admitting to looking at between 50 and 100 mostly explicit images of the girl on the app while working, officials said.

He has since been placed on standard administrative leave.

The teen’s grandmother told agents that she has known Northbird for 10 years, as he attended the school at which she worked.

“She knew him on a personal level and is friends with his family,” the complaint said.

It was allegedly after the girl had used her grandmother’s friend’s phone to log in to Facebook that the texts and messages were discovered.

When the teen returned the phone to her grandmother’s friend without logging out, the woman found an allegedly inappropriate conversation between the pair, as well as two sexually explicit photos of the girl.

The girl’s grandmother, with whom she lives, reported the conduct to Leech Lake Behavior Health Services.

Northbird was charged with felony possession of pornographic work and gross misdemeanor misconduct by a public employee, authorities said.

If found guilty, Northbird faces five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. He will make his first appearance in Cass County District Court on December 28.

Northbird did not respond to InsideEdition.com's request for comment. 

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