MINOT, N.D. -- A 25-year-old registered sex offender who once worked as the Easter Bunny at a Minot mall will serve another 3 1/2 years in prison after his probation was revoked Friday.
Daniel Sanderson Elwell – who had previously been called Daniel Elwell Sanderson in court records – acknowledged violating the terms of his probation in district court in Minot. His lawyer, Raissa Carpenter, said his legal name is Daniel Sanderson Elwell.
The state filed to revoke his probation after Elwell searched for child pornography online on two cell phones using graphic and disturbing terminology, had pictures of himself in his Easter bunny costume on one phone, had children's underwear in his apartment, was kicked out of sex offender treatment and drove drunk in February.
Sanderson acknowledged the DUI conviction and failure to complete sex offender treatment after failing to be honest and engaging in high risk behavior. His attorney told Judge Todd Cresap that Elwell does not remember searching for child porn on one phone but doesn't dispute the facts. He also disputes that he is responsible for the soiled children's underwear found in his apartment by his mother, who was cleaning it out. He doesn't dispute that his mother found the children's underwear there.
Elwell will serve 3 1/2 years, minus the 143 days he has already served and 20 days of good time earned. He will be on supervised probation for three years. If he violates his probation, he could be sent back to jail for another year. Cresap also ordered that Elwell complete sex offender treatment while he is incarcerated.
Elwell will agree to sign a release for records from Washington that might help the people treating him, said Carpenter.
"I do think Mr. Elwell has a bright future ahead of him," said Carpenter. "We're hoping that this program will help promote that future."
Cresap admonished Elwell to take the treatment program seriously.
"Mr. Elwell, you've got to get a handle on this," said Cresap. "Otherwise, you're going to be spending the rest of your life in some institution as a sexually dangerous offender. That's just the reality of it."
Cresap told Elwell to "work (the program)" in prison.
Elwell's original offense was a misdemeanor. Elwell pleaded guilty in December 2015 to exposing himself to a young child. In March 2016, he worked for two weeks as the Easter Bunny at the mall in violation of his probation. His probation was revoked and he was also sentenced to prison time last fall for felony failure to register as a sex offender. When he was released from jail, he then violated his probation again.
The North Dakota Sex Offender Registry lists Elwell as at moderate risk to reoffend. He is required to register as a sex offender until 2040.