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North Dakota Supreme Court upholds sex sting convictions

James Heily1 / 3
Jesse Janke2 / 3
Nicholas Davison3 / 3

FARGO — The North Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the convictions of three men accused of patronizing a minor for commercial sexual activity, ruling that under the law the men were charged with the presence of an actual minor was not a requirement for the cases to be valid.

Defense attorney Charles J. Sheeley brought the appeals on behalf of Nicholas J. Davison, James R. Heily Jr. and Jesse L. Janke, who were charged and convicted in connection with an undercover sting operation dubbed Guardian Angel.

During the 2016 operation, ads were posted on the web seeking sexual encounters, but the ads did not claim to be posted by a minor.

However, when the men responded to the ad an undercover officer posing as a minor indicated to the defendants she was a minor.

In their appeal, the men argued that the language of the statute required an actual minor to be involved.

The Supreme Court disagreed, saying in its ruling that the facts in the case showed each defendant agreed to offer something of value for commercial sexual activity with a minor and the presence of a minor was not necessary.

Dave Olson
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