A Bismarck man pleaded guilty on June 17 to charges stemming from an alleged effort to lure a teenage girl into a sexual encounter. Authorities have accused the 25-year-old man of engaging in an online chat with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl; the man allegedly made plans to meet with the person in the interest of smoking marijuana and performing sex acts.
When the man arrived at the intended meeting site, Bismarck police moved in to detain him. Authorities claim that the man was in possession of condoms and marijuana when he was taken into custody. They later discovered a gun and drug paraphernalia in his vehicle, according to reports. The man was charged with felony luring minors by computer, felony possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon.
North Dakota law provides for significant penalties for sex crimes, especially if they involve minors. If individuals have a prior history as a sexual offender, these penalties will likely increase. The defendant may be facing extensive prison time, fines and required psychiatric evaluation.
A defense attorney in a case like this one would likely wish to examine the transcript of the online chat that their client was allegedly involved in. Based on such an examination, the attorney might attempt to argue that the defendant's intentions were misinterpreted. If the prosecution possesses a solid foundation of evidence, an attorney might also recommend that their client plead guilty to some offenses in order to mitigate their sentencing.
Source: Bismarck Tribune, "Bismarck man admits to sex offense", Jenny Michael, June 17, 2014