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Missouri man facing long prison sentence over online sex crimes

A man from Marysville, Missouri, who was scheduled to go to trial this week for his alleged participation in sexually explicit online chats with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl instead pleaded no contest to the charges. The man was in fact chatting with a St. Charles County Cyber Crime detective posing as an underage girl.

According to authorities, there were two separate chats that took place, which occurred in December 2008 and April 2009. As a result, the 49-year-old man was charged with two counts of attempted use of a child in a sexual performance. He pleaded no contest to the sex offenses, which means he did not admit guilt. However, by so doing he acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him. He will now be sentenced in April.

In Missouri, being charged with crimes of a sexual nature is very serious. Not only are the potential penalties for being convicted very steep, including prison time and heavy fines, the aftermath can be very trying as well. The stigma of being a convicted sex offender and having to register as such for a long time, perhaps indefinitely, can result in a de facto life sentence.

In this case, the man in question only this week learned his fate, despite the fact that the first incident he was charged with happened more than three years ago. Anyone in Missouri who is charged with sexually related crimes owes it to himself to find an experienced attorney who will fight for his rights and be an advocate for him when it might seem the whole world is against him.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Marthasville man pleads no contest to sex charges," Valerie Schremp Hahn, Jan. 31, 2012

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