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South Dakota man convicted in undercover sex sting

Defendant inquired about rates for sexual services with an undercover investigator playing role of 15-year-old girl.

Eric TRAN
Tran

WORTHINGTON — A Sioux Falls, S.D. man will spend 365 days in jail for attempting to purchase sex from whom he believed to be a 15-year-old girl.

Eric Tran, 22, was convicted Tuesday in Nobles County District Court of electronic sexual solicitation of whom he believed to be a child and attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The charges were related to a 2018 undercover operation led by the Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force, which discussed rates for sexual services with Tran under the guise of a 15-year-old female. He was arrested in October when he appeared at the agreed-upon location in Worthington.

Four other charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement. He was placed on a five-year supervised probationary period, during which he's prohibited from having unmonitored use of the internet or having unapproved contact with juvenile girls younger than 18. He'll also pay a $750 assessment and $500 fine, which may be satisfied by community work service.

Tran received a stay of imposition of both convictions, which means he has the opportunity to keep felonies off his record if he's compliant with probation, which requires him to register as a predatory offender.

Fifth Judicial District Judge Gordon Moore denied the defense's request for Tran to perform his jail sentence on electronic home monitoring. Moore said that wouldn't be appropriate or in conformance with similar cases that have come before him in Nobles County District Court, which have consistently included jail time.

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"I stand by the decisions I've made in the past on these cases," Moore said.

Tran's defense attorney announced his plan to serve his sentence in the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls. He's to report in four weeks, and is entitled to good time and five days credit for time already served.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTS
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