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Worthington man enters guilty plea in undercover operation

WORTHINGTON -- A Worthington man entered a guilty plea Jan. 12 in Nobles County District Court to intending to perform a sexual act last February with whom he believed to be minor female.

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Bartels

WORTHINGTON - A Worthington man entered a guilty plea Jan. 12 in Nobles County District Court to intending to perform a sexual act last February with whom he believed to be minor female.

Michael Bartels, 31, pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual conduct of a victim between the ages of 13 and 15, a felony.

Bartels faced that and four other felony-level offenses after he engaged in electronic communication relating to or describing sexual conduct between himself and another individual who identified as a 14-year-old girl.

The communication was part of an undercover operation conducted by the Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Bartels was arrested once he got out of his vehicle at a location in Worthington that he agreed to meet the “female.”

Friday’s plea hearing included a lengthy discussion regarding Bartel’s mental health history and controlled substance use during the conversations.

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Considering the guilty plea was accepted and Bartels is sentenced in accordance with the plea deal, Bartels could serve a cap of 275 days in jail that would be presumptively stayed during a determined probationary period.

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