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FBI: Man Claimed Molestation Online

July 23, 1998

FARGO, N.D. (AP) _ A man who confessed on the Internet to killing his daughter in a house fire told a fellow member of an online support group that he also molested the girl, documents obtained by The Associated Press show.

The documents, including an affidavit from an FBI agent, say Larry Froistad Jr. claimed at least twice online that he sexually abused his 5-year-old daughter, Amanda. Investigators also seized hundreds of images of explicit child pornography from his home, the documents show.

The evidence means federal authorities could charge Froistad with sexual exploitation of a minor ending in the victim’s death, a charge that could lead to the death penalty.

U.S. Attorney John Schneider refused to discuss the case Wednesday or say if any of the seized images were of Froistad’s daughter.

In an affidavit filed in court, FBI agent Carl Florez said the computer seized from Froistad’s San Diego home in March contained e-mail messages and transcripts of chat room conversations in which Froistad admitted having sex with his daughter.

They also found evidence Froistad routinely visited Internet chat rooms frequented by pedophiles, had hundreds of pornographic images of children and had traded child pornography over the Internet, the affidavit said.

Froistad, 29, was charged in March with Amanda’s 1995 death in a house fire in Bowman, N.D., that was initially ruled an accident. He is in jail after pleading innocent last week to the state murder charge, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Froistad’s attorneys did not return repeated calls seeking comment. They have said the messages could have been sent by someone else and that Froistad had serious mental problems.

Authorities say the San Diego computer programmer confessed in an online support group for problem drinkers to setting the fire. Other group members turned him in.

``Even though her mother gave her up to me in late May,″ Froistad wrote, ``something got into me while I was drunk ... and I decided to burn our house down. I made quite a show of it. I killed my daughter and somehow managed to gather a whole town’s sympathy. What an actor I am.″

The FBI said it found an e-mail message Froistad wrote to a member of the group admitting he molested his daughter.

``The fact is, I had too close a relationship with her; it was sexual and I know that’s wrong,″ he wrote in the message, a copy of which was contained in Florez’s affidavit. ``But she loved me, and I loved her, and I don’t know what to do now.″

The court papers also included excerpts of a conversation Froistad had in an Internet chat room for pedophiles. In it, Froistad, using the alias ``Deathbox,″ wrote an explicit account of fondling his 4-year-old daughter while she slept.

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