Man caught in child-sex sting given probation

Program for offenders, supervised contact with young girls ordered

Judge also limits Internet use

March 04, 2003|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A Bethesda man was ordered yesterday to complete a sex-offenders program while on probation and, unless supervised, stay away from young girls and the Internet, which he used to arrange a meeting for sex last year with someone he thought was a bored 13-year-old but turned out to be a Carroll County sheriff's deputy.

Todd K. Thompson, 27, had just moved out of his family home to an apartment in Baltimore when he was arrested Feb. 5 last year at a fast-food restaurant in Finksburg. He had sent his photo and a description of his car and clothing to the deputy - signed on as "Stacie" - who was waiting with other officers to arrest him that day.

"Your honor, I'm just very embarrassed and I'm very sorry," Thompson told Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. yesterday before being sentenced on his conviction for using computers for child pornography, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

A charge of attempted second-degree sex offense was dropped when Thompson pleaded guilty to the computer charge Sept. 3. The judge granted Thompson probation before judgment, meaning that if he meets the conditions of two years of supervised probation in Montgomery County he will not have a criminal record.

After Thompson pleaded guilty, Burns delayed sentencing to allow him time for counseling and a sex-offenders' therapy program. Yesterday, he also ordered that Thompson have no unsupervised contact with juveniles younger than age 14 and only supervised Internet use.

Assistant State's Attorney Amy L. Blank did not oppose probation before judgment.

A psychologist's report described Thompson as "a grossly immature, somewhat handicapped individual," said defense attorney Jack Quinn.

Thompson was one of seven men arrested after traveling into Carroll County last year for allegedly arranging sexual trysts with 13- or 14-year-old girls via Internet chat rooms. Some have pleaded guilty, while others have argued that they cannot be guilty of a crime that has no victim because they were speaking with law enforcement officers.

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