Survivor Alum Michael Skupin to Stand Trial on Child Pornography Charges
The star has denied all charges
Former Survivor contestant Michael Skupin will stand trial in Minnesota on child pornography and other charges, the Associated Press reports. A judge determined there was enough evidence for him to stand trial in Oakland County.
Skupin was arrested in February after officials said they discovered child pornography on Skupin’s laptop while they were investigating an alleged ponzy scheme. Skupin has denied the charges, saying in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE in February that he was “wrongfully accused.”
“My whole life has been kids: my kids, my family and anyone who ever needed help in any way,” he said in the statement. “I’ve traveled the globe working with millions of kids both one-on-one, at schools, camps and assemblies. I’ve coached over 60 seasons of youth sports. I have never, ever hurt a child in any way – not as alleged and not ever.
Authorities began an investigation into Skupin after people came forward saying they were victims of an alleged ponzi scheme. The alleged victims claim they made $10,000 investments to a gifting scheme called Pay It Forward, which saw their donations cycled through a chart of investors, until they were paid by new investors’ money. The alleged scheme came to light after the investors say they lost their money when no new people were brought into the group.
Law enforcement say they discovered child porn on Skupin’s laptop during their investigation.
“Not only did this man rob people of their hard earned savings with his financial scams but he victimized innocent children every time he looked at a piece of child pornography,” Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement in February announcing the charges. “This man seems to have no concept or caring for right and wrong and will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law for these horrific crimes.”
Skupin, a father of seven, appeared on Survivor: The Australian Outback. He was the first person to be medically evacuated from the reality show after he fell into a fire and severely burned his hands. He later tied for second on Survivor: Philippines.