MOUNT VERNON – Dennis Palmer, 50,
of Mount Vernon, was found guilty of Compelling Prostitution, a third-degree
felony, on Tuesday after a bench trial before Knox County Court of Common Pleas
Judge Otho Eyster.The offense involves
knowingly agreeing to pay a minor to engage in sexual activity.
Palmer was arrested on May 30 just
outside of Mount Vernon when he stopped to make contact with a person he
believed to be a 15-year-old girl after agreeing to pay $60 for sex in an
e-mail conversation.The person Palmer
had been e-mailing was in fact a Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy posing as a 15
year old female.
According to Knox County Prosecutor
Chip McConville, the evidence introduced at trial showed that Palmer had placed
an advertisement on Craigslist offering money for sex.Knox County Sheriff’s Detective Danial Bobo,
who testified at the trial, responded to the advertisement posing as a minor
female and engaged in e-mail correspondence for several days before Palmer’s
arrest on May 30.The e-mail transcript
set a price, and made it clear that Palmer was seeking sex from a female he
believed to be 15 years old, McConville said.
Detective Bobo’s investigation was
assisted by KCSO Detective Lt. Craig Feeney, Det. David Light, Det. James
Ferenbaugh, and Mount Vernon Municipal Court Probation Officer Julie Fisher.
After entering the finding of
guilty, Judge Eyster ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set Palmer’s
sentencing hearing for December 11.
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