Golden Valley man receives jail sentence in undercover criminal sex operation
WORTHINGTON -- A Golden Valley man with a number of positive character references will spend time in jail after getting caught up in attempted criminal activity involving what Fifth Judicial District Judge Gordon Moore categorized as a "dark web....
WORTHINGTON - A Golden Valley man with a number of positive character references will spend time in jail after getting caught up in attempted criminal activity involving what Fifth Judicial District Judge Gordon Moore categorized as a “dark web.”
Conrad Wachter, 30, was sentenced to 275 days in jail after engaging in sexually lewd electronic conversation and traveling to Worthington to meet whom he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. His sentence may be served at the Hennepin or Anoka counties jails at his own expense.
Wachter received a stay of imposition on the attempted third-degree criminal sexual charge that stemmed from a February 2017 sting operation by the Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
During Tuesday’s sentencing in Nobles County District Court, Moore told Wachter that the fact that he unknowingly conversed with an undercover agent did not negate the seriousness of the offense.
“Although there is not an actual, live victim that can come into the courtroom - the victim is the public,” Moore said, explaining that the Internet has opened a door for young people to become involved in inappropriate behavior, which is difficult for parents or guardians to completely monitor. “That’s why law enforcement run these types of operations - to try and deter people from doing this.”
Prior to sentencing, Wachter told Moore he regretted his actions.
Looking at a number of filled seats behind the defendant’s side in the courtroom, Moore called it unusual for someone in Wachter’s situation to be before him in court facing a criminal sexual conduct offense.
“It’s not uncommon for people in your situation to feel abandoned,” Moore said, expressing how fortunate Wachter was to have a support system. “This is the type of offense you find out quickly who your friends and family are.”
That family support - combined with a recommendation from probation, lack of criminal history, completion of some post-secondary education and a history of employment - led Moore to deny the state’s request to execute his sentence.
Wachter can avoid conviction on the felony-level offense if he complies with the terms of his five-year supervised probation. Among the conditions of his probation, Wachter is not to possess an internet-capable device without permission and monitoring. He may also not have contact with minors less than 18 years old without approval.
Four other charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.