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Trial postponed in Internet crimes case

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The jury trial of Ryan Lee Balster, 22, of Jasper, has been pushed back to September. It was originally scheduled to begin July 1.

Balster was arrested May 1 in Sioux Falls, S.D., after allegedly contacting a 13-year-old girl via the Internet and making arrangements to meet her to have sex. The girl was, in fact, an undercover officer.

Balster is charged in federal court with travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, attempted enticement of a minor using the Internet and attempt to transfer obscene material to a minor.

An order filed last week by Judge Lawrence Piersol states a motion from the defense to continue court proceedings is granted.

"After consideration of the file of this matter, the court finds that failure to grant the continuance would deny counsel the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation...," the order states. "Failure to grant the continuance would deny the public interest in bringing this case to trial in an orderly fashion."

A hearing to consider any motions filed by the defense and opposing counsel will take place at 1:30 p.m. July 29 in Sioux Falls.

Any proposed plea agreement must be submitted to the court by July 31.

If no plea agreement is reached, the trial will commence Sept. 9 in Sioux Falls.