Cyberwatch Criminal Gets Probation

By: Brian Quick Email
By: Brian Quick Email

A judge departs from sentencing guidelines and places a man charged in an online sting on probation.

The man is accused of trying to solicit sex with a child he believed to be under the age of 16.

22-year-old Brandon Mason was sentenced three years probabtion -- as opposed to five years in prison. He believed he was soliciting a 14-year-old girl named "Angel".

The person he was chatting with was actually 38-year-old Nikki Delaney, who works with U.S. Cyberwatch, a group that tries to catch online predators.

One of the reasons Judge Jan Leuenberger decided to depart was because there was no "real" victim -- just an adult woman posing as a victim.

The judge also said Mason changed his mind and tried to leave before committing any crime -- and before he knew police were closing in.

The judge determined Mason was not a pedophile -- but was however, clinically depressed. Another factor was Mason's family support.

The judge did make clear the court is in no way critical of U.S. Cyberwatch's actions -- but did note that in this case, the "victim" did actively seek out mason online.

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