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Published July 31, 2013, 08:57 PM

Grand Forks man behind bars following minor solicitation charge

Michael Lieberman is going to jail after admitting he met a 15-year-old online, invited the boy to his Grand Forks home and had sex with the boy.

Michael Lieberman is going to jail after admitting he met a 15-year-old online, invited the boy to his Grand Forks home and had sex with the boy.

On Wednesday, state District Judge Debbie Kleven sentenced Lieberman, 23, to a year in jail, with six months suspended, plus two years probation and ordered him to register as a sex offender.

Prosecutor Jason McCarthy recommended the sentence after Lieberman agreed to plead guilty in May to soliciting a minor for sex, which carries a top prison sentence of five years.

Meredith Larson, a prosecutor who appeared for McCarthy in court Wednesday, said Lieberman told Kleven he was remorseful and wanted to rehabilitate himself.

Lieberman has no criminal history other than minor offenses, Larson said.

The victim's mother told Kleven her son remains traumatized by the incident and was only in ninth grade when it happened.

According to a court affidavit, the victim said on Oct. 27 he answered a Craigslist ad from Lieberman seeking sex with other men. The boy first told Lieberman, via phone and text messages, he was 20; just before they met in person, he said he was 16.

Larson said the boy actually was 15.

Lieberman admitted he had sex with the boy on Oct. 30, but told police the boy was "ambiguous" about age. Still, Lieberman conceded the boy told him he was 16 and "it was stupid of him not to have believed him," the affidavit said.

Lieberman's wife and his mother wrote letters to the court, saying he was very remorseful and normally was a responsible, caring person. They said he recently received an anthropology degree from UND and planned to go to graduate school.

Kleven said Lieberman can serve his sentence on work release if the jail approves.

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