The following press release was issued on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the District of North Dakota.
BISMARCK – United States Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl announced that on December 6, 2022, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland sentenced Dwayne Gerard, Sr., Age 63 of Karlsruh, ND, to serve 60 years in federal prison, followed by lifetime supervised release for eight counts of Sexual Exploitation of Minors, for which Gerard, Sr., pleaded guilty to on August 17, 2022. During the sentencing hearing, several family members provided statements regarding the tremendous impact the sexual abuse has had on the victims and their families. During the sentencing, Judge Daniel L. Hovland called the defendant "a parent’s worst nightmare" and one of the worst cases he has seen on the bench.
This case came to the attention of law enforcement after it was reported that Gerard, Sr., had been repeatedly sexually abusing two children. A search of his electronic devices revealed images and videos depicting his sexual abuse of these children.
"Homeland Security Investigations is committed to combatting child exploitation, and I’m proud of our agents and law enforcement partners who brought Gerard, Sr. to justice," said Jamie Holt, HSI St. Paul Special Agent in Charge.
"This is truly a case that required a sentence sufficient enough to ensure the defendant never harms another child again," said Assistant United States Attorney Gary Delorme.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gary Delorme and investigated by the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations, the Minot Police Department, and McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.
This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the nation, Project Safe Childhood, in conjunction with Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), help federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communications systems, or computer technology to sexually exploit children. The ICAC Program is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces engaging in proactive investigations, forensic investigations, and criminal prosecutions. Project Safe Childhood also helps to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The Bismarck Tribune provided further information about the sentencing hearing. During the hearing Gerard told the court that he had himself been a victim of sexual abuse as a child, when older men that he trusted exploited him.
"I do know the pain involved because it happened to me," Gerard said.
Gerard had two prior convictions of sex crimes against children. Despite the previous convictions, his attorney attempted to advocate for first, a 20 year sentence, and then, to have the sentences served concurrently rather than consecutively.
The Bismarck Tribune goes on to state that District Judge Daniel Hovland told the attorney that should he reconsider his sentencing, he would be more likely to award Gerard a sentence of 30 years per each count against him rather than the already sentenced 30 years for the first count and a second 30 years for the remaining seven counts.
"Your life will end in prison, which is where it should end," Hovland told Gerard.