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Calls turn Washington County sex case probation into prison term

  • Article by: KEVIN GILES
  • Star Tribune
  • March 26, 2012 - 7:40 PM

A Washington County man went from no prison time to 12 years behind bars in the space of nine days because he violated a judge's order to avoid contact with a teenage girl who had been his sexual partner.

Judge John Hoffman was unhappy to hear that Joshua Allen Phillips, now 20, had called, e-mailed and met with a 14-year-old Cottage Grove girl just days after leaving jail in January, said Fred Fink, chief of the Washington County Attorney's office criminal division.

Phillips pleaded guilty in October to first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Hoffman had stayed a prison sentence for 20 years under several conditions, including that Phillips have no contact with the girl and her family.

He was ordered to prison on Monday.

"He just didn't get the message," Fink said.

Phillips was homeless when he moved into the Cottage Grove family's residence at the girl's request in December 2010, according to the criminal complaint. In February 2011, the mother discovered in a text message that her daughter was having sex with Phillips. She booted him from her house and told police she thought her daughter was in love with him.

The girl told Cottage Grove police that she had met Phillips in the summer of 2010, when he was 18, and they began having sex in October. They had sex more than 100 times, she said in the criminal complaint.

The girl "stated they also had a conversation regarding consequences that could come from the defendant having sexual intercourse with her. She stated the defendant justified his actions by telling her that he would only go to prison until she turned 18; therefore, he felt it was okay to continue," the complaint said.

"This family took a homeless guy in and he not only violated their trust but he violated their daughter as well," Fink said.

Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037 Twitter: @stribgiles

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