Frahm pleads not guilty to child pornography charges | Local News

Former local high school band teacher David Matthew Frahm, who faces child pornography charges in federal court, has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

After arriving in Saipan yesterday following a successful extradition from Malaysia, Frahm was arraigned in the U.S. District Court for NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona for an initial appearance and arraignment in a child pornography case.

Specifically, in this case, Frahm faces charges of attempted exploitation of a child, possession of child pornography, and unlawful sexual conduct abroad.

At yesterday’s hearing, Frahm, through his court-appointed attorney, Richard Miller, pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

After pleading not guilty, Manglona submitted the case to a jury trial on August 13 at 10 a.m.

However, Miller and Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric O’Malley advised the court that there may be delays in this case due to virtual evidence acquisition, evidence analysis and pretrial motions .

In an interview with defense attorney Miller after the hearing, he explained that, by law, the court is required to set a trial date within 70 days of arraignment and that, as Fahm was brought to court yesterday, the court was following the procedure.

However, Miller said, based on his experience in similar cases, an August trial date is unlikely and a later date is more realistic because it gives both sides time to prepare.

“Under the law, the judge must schedule a jury trial within 70 days of the defendant’s initial appearance and arraignment. I was simply informing her that in all likelihood we would move her to continue the trial at a later date, because the nature of the charges involves electronically stored information, which requires analysis, sometimes technical analysis, and that takes time. time. Second, the accusations come from two completely different periods; the first two relate to alleged conduct in 2019, and the third charge alleges conduct in 2024, a very different set of facts and each will present its own challenges to both the defense and prosecution and may be associated with its own set of requests,” he said.

The court also set a hearing for June 17, 2024 to consider the government’s request for pretrial detention.

“I just received the file today and it takes time to investigate the facts that could persuade the court to release my client on bail before trial. It’s normal. The government has filed a request for detention pending trial, so I expect the government will oppose any release on bail,” he said.

Meanwhile, Miller said he intends to file a motion to dismiss the charge of unlawful sexual conduct in foreign locations against Frahm due to lack of venue.

“Even if the court has jurisdiction over the accused on the third charge, the question ‘why Saipan’ remains when the acts took place in Malaysia. Looking at the indictment, it’s not clear. Sometimes the location is obvious from the indictment, and that is enough. But here it’s just not obvious in the third count, so I hope we file a motion on that,” he said.

According to Saipan Tribune records, Frahm pleaded guilty in a Malaysian court last month to possessing child pornography.

Additionally, Frahm pleaded not guilty to sexual harassment charges against him after he allegedly produced sexual material while filming a small shower at her home.

Last April, the U.S. government filed a new indictment in the NMI U.S. District Court against Frahm after his arrest in Malaysia.

Frahm reportedly left the CNMI sometime before or after being charged with one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a child in 2023.

After his arrest in Malaysia, Assistant U.S. Attorney O’Malley filed an indictment against Frahm, adding one count of possession of child pornography and one count of unlawful sexual conduct abroad. This is in addition to the existing charge of attempted sexual exploitation of a child.

The superseding indictment replaces the indictment issued in September 2023.

In the charge of “attempted sexual exploitation of a child,” the indictment says Frahm attempted to take a photo of a minor while he was using the restroom at the high school he worked for, Marianas High School, in March 2019.

As for the charge of possession of child pornography, Frahm was reportedly arrested in March 2019 for possession of a computer file depicting a minor child engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The indictment says the image was created in Ukraine and distributed via the Internet.

On the sole count of illicit sexual conduct abroad, Frahm was allegedly caught producing child pornography in Malaysia.