ST. GEORGE – A 53-year-old Washington City resident who tried soliciting sex with a 13-year-old pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony count of enticing a minor over the internet.
Angelo Nielson agreed to plead guilty to a third-degree felony as part of a plea arrangement, and in return the state dismissed a second, identical charge. The defendant would have faced stiffer penalty had the he been found guilty in a trial.
Fifth District Judge Jeffrey Wilcox scheduled Nielson’s sentencing for Oct. 10. Wilcox ordered a presentence investigation be conducted prior to that date. The report from that investigation will influence the sentence Wilcox hands down. The investigation includes information on Nielson’s background and current situation, any criminal history and the findings of an assessment conducted to determine the chances of the defendant reoffending.
According to the probable cause statement used in Nielson’s arrest, Homeland Security Investigations special agents and detectives with the St. George Police Department were conducting an operation aimed at identifying child sex predators that would travel with the intent to have sex with a minor.
During the investigation, a Homeland Security Investigations agent located an online ad titled “Master / Dominating looking for young girl.” The agent, posing as a 13-year-old female child, responded to the ad via an email message.
While communicating with Nielson, the agent told him she might be too young for him but the defendant said he was OK with her age and began describing the types of sexual activity he was looking for.
Nielson asked “the girl” for naked photos of herself to verify she was “real” and sent several photos of himself. Additionally, he asked several questions and expressed “concern that he might go to jail if he were caught having sex with the child.”
At no time did Nielson “express any concern for the welfare of the child or her age,” court documents state.
Investigators were able to identify Nielson with information he provided to the agent during their conversations.
He was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility on a $15,000 bond but was able to post bail.
Nielson’s arrest was among several others in the Washington County area during the spring months when authorities conducted an online ad surveillance sting aimed at potential child victims.
Law enforcement in Washington County have continued to focus on prostitution and human trafficking investigations during the past year by accessing websites where sex is solicited online.
The majority of the cases have involved sexual solicitation among adults rather than children and resulted in minor sentences.
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