Walz-appointed judge releases accused pedophile with zero bail required

A judge known for his "open-mindedness" and "compassion" freed an accused pedophile who allegedly told a child that he wanted to pin her to a wall and choke her.

Jonathan Alton and Judge Nathaniel Welte (Left: Crime Watch Minneapolis; Right: Minnesota Courts)
Left: Jonathan Alton/Crime Watch Minneapolis; Right: Judge Nathaniel Welte/Minnesota Judicial Branch

Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions that some readers may find disturbing.

A judge who was once praised by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz for his “open-mindedness” and “compassion” released an accused pedophile with zero bail required earlier this month.

Jonathan Alton is a 22-year-old Coon Rapids man who is accused of trying to solicit a 15-year-old girl to engage in sexual conduct. Prosecutors are pursuing felony charges after Alton allegedly contacted an undercover investigator who he believed to be a child and pursued a sexual relationship with her while acknowledging the illegality of his actions.

However, he is not presently in jail, since he was freed just two days after his arrest by Stearns County Judge Nathaniel Welte, who was appointed to the bench last year by Gov. Walz. “Welte has demonstrated open-mindedness, compassion and honesty throughout his career,” the governor said as he appointed the judge.

Welte ordered Alton to be released on zero bail on Oct. 8, Crime Watch Minneapolis first reported.

“I’d like to pin you to the wall [and] choke you as I’m fingering you,” Alton told the undercover investigator who he believed to be a child via Snapchat. “You cannot say no,” he added.

He also requested that she send “something showing off body in like tight ass leggings.” Alton later told the decoy that he wanted her to wear “leggings I can rip a whole [sic] in and go supper [sic] aggressive … I’d be bending you over and spanking that ass.”

Alton sent messages about the size of his penis and his willingness to have sex with a minor but was ultimately dissuaded from taking action as he could not afford the gas to get from Coon Rapids, where he lives, to St. Cloud, where the decoy was pretending to live.

After he was apprehended, Alton admitted to using the Snapchat account that sent sexual messages to an apparent 15-year-old girl. He even “admitted to telling her he wanted to have sex with her,” according to police — but he then denied any recollection of the entire day during which he and the decoy conversed, citing a “schizophrenic attack.”