Northeast Missouri man charged in online enticement case

Mark Stephenson, 29

A northeast Missouri man now faces jail time after attempting to establish an inappropriate relationship with a young girl online.

Mark Stephenson, 29, of New Cambria, appeared in Adair County Circuit Court Monday and pleaded guilty to the charge of Attempted Statutory Sodomy.

Judge Russell Steele sentenced Stephenson to 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and a lifetime of supervision by the Department of Probation and Parole.

The charges stem from an online investigation that detectives with the Kirksville Police Department started in November of 2013.

Officers received information regarding Stephenson making contact with underage girls on Facebook.

After receiving the report, officers posed as an approved undercover 13-year-old female persona and established an online friendship with Stephenson.

Stephenson was made aware of the childâ??s age on several occasions; however, he repeatedly sent sexually explicit photos and statements encouraging sexual behavior to the undercover persona.

On December 4, 2013, Stephenson asked if the 13-year-old was alone and if she would like to meet up, and made the effort to drive to Kirksville and meet the young girl at a park in Kirksville.

Officers arrested Stephenson in a parking lot close to that park on December 4.

Stephenson is currently being held at the Adair County Detention Center awaiting transport to the Missouri Department of Corrections by the Adair County Sheriffâ??s Office.

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