New York, NY(Law Firm Newswire) March 5, 2018 – A military man from out of town received a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for going to meet and engage in sexual relations with a child in San Angelo, Texas.
According to the San Angelo Standard Times, 36-year-old Geovanni Dillan Severin, who was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base at the time of the offense, made an appearance at a punishment hearing. Judge Jay Weatherby found him guilty of second-degree online solicitation of a minor, a felony that can result in a sentence between two and 20 years in prison.
New York criminal defense attorney Peter Brill of Brill Legal Group, P.C., says, “There has been much news coverage in the media regarding cases involving internet solicitation.” “Such exposure has resulted in severe ramifications for those who are suspected of internet solicitation of minors, even before they have had a chance to establish their innocence.”
During her closing arguments Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Sheppard told Judge Weatherby that Severin entered the community, and made the decision to prey on someone. She argued that it is necessary to communicate to others who are considering carrying out such a crime that they should not commit the crime. Prosecutors contended that because Severin is a public official who holds a position of power and trust, he should be held to a higher standard. They claimed he acted illegally, and in violation of his oath to provide protection to citizens. They argued in favor of jail time.
However, Severin’s attorney, Jessica Skinner, told Judge Weatherby that the incident was an isolated one, and that her client exercised bad judgment. She said the court should judge him based on him, and not on a standard of the community. She said the statute should be modified. She requested that Judge Weatherby send Severin back to his wife and daughter. But after deliberating for approximately one hour, Judge Weatherby sentenced Severin to 10 years in prison.
Pursuant to court documents, Severin spoke to a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl on Craigslist, the online advertisement website. In actuality, he was talking to an agent affiliated with the Texas Department of Public Safety who was performing an undercover operation to identify and arrest predators who use the Internet to engage in sexual behavior with children. Severin had responded to an ad posted on Craigslist by police. Court documents state he entered into an agreement to meet the alias at an undisclosed location in San Angelo on December 21, 2016 for the purpose of having sexual relations. Police arrested him at that location.
Since Internet solicitation of a minor is treated as a sexually relevant offense, a defendant may be compelled to register as a sex offender. If they do not register, they may face the felony charge of failure to register as a sex offender. Additionally, Internet solicitation charges can adversely affect opportunities for employment.
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