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MN- Sex offender dies after taking pills

3-19-2009 Minnesota:

A Red Wing sex offender charged with possessing child pornography died Wednesday of an apparent suicide.

Red Wing police Chief Tim Sletten said officers were called at 7:09 p.m. Monday to 425 22nd St., where a man was reportedly unresponsive after taking a large amount of pills.

Officers found Bobby Varnado at the residence and he was transported to a medical facility. The 39-year-old died Wednesday at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.

“It is unfortunate any time a person takes their own life,” said Assistant Goodhue County Attorney Erin Kuester. “We will focus on offering counseling and mental health services for the victims and their family members.”

Kuester, who prosecutes sex-related crimes for the county, said charges against Varnado will likely be dismissed.

Varnado had been charged with seven counts of using a minor in a sexual performance and four counts of possessing child pornography. Initial charges were filed in December after a multi-agency online investigation flagged Varnado’s Internet use for allegedly distributing child porn.

Charges intensified this month when investigators discovered evidence he had created several images of child porn using children known to him, a criminal complaint states.

He had been arrested most recently on March 11, then released later that day on $30,000 bail.

If convicted of the most serious charges, Varnado faced a maximum 70 years in prison.

The lesser charges each carried a maximum penalty of three years behind bars.

He had been convicted in 1995 of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and spent a year in jail for the offense.

Varnado had not yet entered a plea in the latest case, but was scheduled for an April 3 hearing. ..Source.. by Mike Longaecker The Republican Eagle

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