For having cybersex with a 15-year-old boy, a 66-year-old St. Paul man was sentenced Thursday to a year in jail and two years on probation.
But Thomas F. LaBlanc will serve only one day in jail, Judge Leonardo Castro said in staying the jail sentence, which won't be imposed as long as LaBlanc follows terms of probation, which include no contact with minors or vulnerable adults, lifetime registration as a sex offender and unannounced searches by probation officers, who will monitor LaBlanc's Internet use.
LaBlanc, also fined $1,000, never met his victim face to face.
LaBlanc was prosecuted under a state law that makes it a crime to solicit children to engage in sexual conduct or to communicate sexually explicit materials to them. Defense attorney Jeff Dean challenged the law's constitutionality and said he will appeal the conviction.
The explicit communications began in early 2009 after a Missouri boy wrote to LaBlanc via social media, asking to be his "friend." The boy's MySpace profile said he was 16, but he was 15.
Dean said the teen looked 19 or 20.
Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Yasmin Mullings told the judge that there may have been some question about the teen's age initially, when he was 14. But after months of cybersex with writings and nude photos, there were many signs that should have alerted LaBlanc, she said. The judge agreed.
Mullings said that the victim has learning and developmental disabilities, and that his parents had died of accident and illness during the long case.