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Beulah man to serve sentence at home for luring a minor charge

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A Beulah man was sentenced at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson on Friday for an August charge of luring a minor by computer.

Southwest District Judge William Herauf sentenced Ben J. Braun, 30, to seven years imprisonment with all but 60 days suspended for five years. Due to a medical condition, he will serve his 60 days under home electronic monitoring at his expense by Oct. 1. He will also be put under supervised probation for five years and pay $1,000 in fines.

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In North Dakota, luring a minor by computer or other electronic means is a Class B felony, which carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The criminal complaint filed Aug. 12 states that Braun requested sexual contact from someone he believed to be less than 15 years old using a computer in June, July and August of last year in Stark County.

Braun originally pleaded not guilty Sept. 26, but accepted a plea agreement before his cancelled felony jury trial April 25, in which he agreed to the terms of his sentence, according to court documents.

Braun's lack of prior criminal record and his attempts to get help for "what caused (him) to do this" played a major part in his sentencing, Herauf said.

"The big thing in this case is this was a -- there was not a real victim, so to speak -- it was a police sting operation," Assistant State's Attorney Jim Hope said, adding there was no evidence he had attempted to lure a minor via the Internet before he was caught by the authorities.

Braun's attorney, Thomas Dickson, described the sentence as "fair and reasonable," adding, "He's a good and decent man who made a mistake and now he pays a big price for it."

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Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
(701) 456-1206
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