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Balster trial delayed again

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The attorney for Ryan Lee Balster, 22, of Jasper, has once again filed a motion to continue the case -- his fourth such motion since Balster was arrested in May and charged with travelling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

According to court documents, the current scheduling order set Nov. 5 as the deadline for notification to the court of any proposed plea agreement, with Dec. 9 as the trial date.

Instead, Federal Public Defender Jeffrey Viken filed the continuance Nov. 5.

"Plea discussions are underway between (Balster) and the government, but those discussions cannot be concluded by Nov. 5," the document states. "Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Clapper has been informed of this motion and has made no objection."

The request is for a 30-day continuance, with a new plea deadline to be set for Dec. 5 and other dates adjusted accordingly.

Balster's arrest came after he had allegedly made plans over the Internet to meet a 12-year-old girl in Sioux Falls, S.D. for the purpose of having sex. The girl he was chatting with was actually an undercover officer. When Balster arrived at the designated spot to meet the girl, he was taken into custody.

Because he had traveled across the state line from Minnesota to South Dakota to meet the girl, the case is being handled by federal court.