(WFLA/AP) — A Missouri man who pleaded guilty to molesting an 11-year-old girl who later tested positive for chlamydia, has been sentenced to five years of supervised probation.
Joseph Meili, 22, of Russellville, was convicted of one count of third-degree child molestation. Statutory rape and kidnapping charges were dismissed a plea deal was reached in March.
According to the Springfield News-Leader, the victim had been exchanging messages with Meili using her mother’s phone and gave him her address.
The probable cause statement says Meili went to the girl’s house in July and drove her to a Springfield apartment. Police say that while the girl was being sexually assaulted, a search was underway for her. The girl returned home later that day and subsequently tested positive for chlamydia.
Meili told authorities he met up with a girl, but her page on the app showed that she was 18 years old.
His attorney claimed his client was “essentially catfished,” and felt horrible when he found out she was 11.
He was arrested and charged in 2017.
The state requested he be sentenced to prison for a 120-day program, but a judge sentenced Meili to five years probation on Friday, his attorney told the newspaper. He is also required to register as a sex offender.
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