DULUTH, Minn. – Prosecutors have added a new, more serious charge in the case against a former Duluth and Fargo firefighter accused of sexually assaulting an infant and distributing child pornography.
Caleb Stuart Lofald, 33, now faces a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct – a count that carries a maximum of 30 years in prison. That’s in additional to the four lesser charges he already was facing.
The charges allege that Lofald sexually assaulted a 4-month-old child at his Hermantown home and distributed photographs of the assault from a computer at a Duluth fire hall. He’s also accused of surreptitiously recording a 6-year-old boy and an adult female in various stages of undress at his home.
Lofald’s employment with the city ended on Feb. 2 without severance pay, said Daniel Fanning, the city’s communications and policy director.
He had previously been on paid administrative leave after a search warrant was executed at his home and at the Duluth Fire Department’s Fire Station 7 on Nov. 20.
A forensic search of computers seized at both locations allegedly turned up 11 images depicting the assault of the infant, as well as video recordings of the boy and an adult woman.
Lofald was charged last month in State District Court with second-degree criminal sexual conduct, possession of child pornography and interfering with the privacy of a minor and the woman.
Authorities stressed at the time that the investigation was still ongoing and that additional charges – possibly federal – could result. The case was being investigated by the Lake Superior Forensic Technology and Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The case drew strong community reaction, including from Duluth Mayor Don Ness who called the allegations “beyond heinous.”
Lofald was due in court Wednesday, but his appearance was postponed because his attorney has not yet received all of the case evidence. No future date was immediately scheduled.
Lofald remains in the St. Louis County Jail, with bail set at $100,000 with conditions or $250,000 without.