22-year-old Joseph Meili has been given 5 years probation for molesting and giving a young girl chlamydia.
Meili claims the 11-year-old girl ‘catfished’ him after they met online. He was sentenced in Springfield, Missouri after pleading guilty to 3rd-degree child molestation.
He was initially charged with statutory rape, statutory sodomy, and kidnapping but those charges were dropped in exchange for his plea.
According to police, he connected with the victim through a dating app called MeetMe. They decided to meet in 2017.
The 11-year-old girl gave her address to Meili and he picked her up before going to his apartment in Springfield.
The child was reported missing and officers spent hours looking for her until she was found back at her home after the 22-year-old drove her back.
But police found the girl in her bedroom packing a bag as she was about to leave again. She said she had fallen asleep at Meili’s home and when she woke up, she felt like something sexual had occurred.
The girl then told police that Meili had raped her.
After further investigations, semen was found in the girl’s underwear. She also tested positive for chlamydia.
Meili told police that he believed the girl was 18. Officers tracked him down and charged him with statutory rape, statutory sodomy, and child kidnapping.
The guy’s attorney said he had been catfished by the 11-year-old.
Green County Court Judge Calvin Holden sentenced the 22-year-old five years probation. Prosecutors had asked for up to 7 years in jail and a mandatory 120 days.
The judge has been previously criticized for handing down a lenient sentence for sex offenders.
A man who assaulted a woman while out on probation for another case was given five years probation. Also, a 24-year-old man convicted of abusing a child was also given five years probation and 30 days in jail.
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