Man who brought teen to Superior sentenced to 20 years
A Superior man was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Wednesday after admitting that he drove to the state of Virginia to pick up a 14-year-old girl and transported her back to the Twin Ports to engage in sexual activity.
Peter Alan Diehl, 32, earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of felony possession of child pornography in U.S. District Court in Madison.
Judge William Conley, who imposed the prison term, said the sentence was "intentionally harsh," and that Diehl "tortured a child while continuing to troll for other victims," according to Acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Anderson of the Western District of Wisconsin.
The victim, who told authorities she had a troubled relationship with her family, reportedly said that Diehl had sex with her more than 50 times during her time in the Twin Ports.
Documents filed in both state and federal court indicate that Diehl was attempting to impregnate the teen, had threatened to "brand" her and made a video recording of himself chasing the victim with a "homemade blow torch type of device."
Diehl was arrested and charged in Douglas County Circuit Court in September 2015 with felony charges of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, abduction of a child and repeated sexual assault of a child. Those state charges are still pending.
Anderson said the investigation also revealed that Diehl in June 2014 allegedly transported another 14-year-old girl from Illinois to Minnesota and had been in possession of a large quantity of child pornography. The prosecutor said charges related to those allegations are expected to be filed in Minnesota.
Diehl was indicted at the federal level in September, and entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors in February.
While the agreement stipulated that Diehl plead guilty only to the child pornogrpahy charges, prosecutors said Diehl was required to admit that he transported a minor across state lines for illegal sexual activity.
Authorities said Diehl and the teen began chatting online in early August 2015, and that the victim told him she wanted to leave her home because she thought her mom would be happier if she did.
Diehl reportedly offered to help, driving to Suffolk, Va., and picking her up in a parking lot near her home on Aug. 16. He initially brought her to a Hermantown hotel, and then to his Superior home, which had no running water or utilities.
The girl told authorities that the plan was for her to stay there forever, "happy ever after," according to documents. She also said Diehl knew she was only 14 before he drove to pick her up.
The victim said Diehl purchased clothing and jewelry for her. She said he had talked about marrying her once she turned 18 and had openly stated that he wanted to have children with her.
The teen had been reported missing and endangered in Virginia. Superior police were alerted to the fact that the teen might be in Superior after the girl called her mother on Sept. 23. A criminal analyst determined the phone number she called from was Diehl's.
Police executed a search warrant at his residence on the 3900 block of East Itasca Street and found the teen there. Police also found a pregnancy test and prenatal vitamins as well as a dog collar, handcuffs, a sex toy and items that could have been used to "brand" the victim at the residence, according to documents.
A GPS unit and a receipt dated Aug. 12 from a convenience store in Raphine, Va., were located in Diehl's car, along with a bottle of sleeping pills and a package of caffeine tablets, according to documents.
Diehl confirmed to police that he had been chatting with the teen online but said the girl had stated she was 20, authorities said. He claimed that he arranged to pick her up from a gas station near Roseville, Minn., not Virginia.
He reportedly told police he wanted to "see how things with her went before he got serious." He said they would kiss and cuddle, but claimed that she slept on the couch and said they never had sex.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI, Douglas County Sheriff's Office and the police departments in Superior, Duluth and Suffolk.