Cloquet man faces charges for allegedly soliciting a minor

Authorities charged the man with soliciting a child through electronic communication to engage in sexual conduct and engaging in electronic communication relating to sexual conduct with a child.

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The Carlton County Courthouse (left) and jail in Carlton.
Steve Kuchera / 2019 file / Cloquet Pine Journal

CARLTON — A 41-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday, March 7, and now faces two felony charges for allegedly soliciting and engaging in communication of sexual conduct with a minor.

James Paul Bistis II was arrested Monday, March 6, by the Cloquet Police Department after a search warrant was executed on his home.

Bistis faces one felony charge of soliciting a child through electronic communication to engage in sexual conduct, which comes with a maximum sentence of 5 years a $10,000 fine or both. The other charge is for engaging in electronic communication relating or describing sexual conduct with a child, also a felony, which has a maximum sentence of 5 years a $10,000 fine or both.

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According to the criminal complaint, in the fall of 2022 the Virginia State Police contacted the Cloquet Police Department to inform them an agent had been in contact with Bistis. The Virginia agent had been posing as a 14-year-old girl on an app called Meet24, an online dating app.

The agent told Bistis they were 14, and despite this, the complaint alleges Bistis continued talking to the agent and solicited sexual activity. The complaint said Bistis also solicited photographs from the profile and sent an explicit video of himself.


After obtaining Bistis's home address, officials executed a search warrant and seized electronic devices from his home.

In an interview with the police, Bistis admitted to having sexual discussions on the chat and to sending explicit pictures, the complaint said. However, Bistis said he did so because he believed the account was messing with him or they were a scammer and not actually 14.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for June 12.

Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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