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Montana man sentenced for coercing a minor

BISMARCK — A Billings, Mont., man was sentenced Tuesday on charges of coercion and enticement of a minor.

Clayton Lakey, 34, has been sentenced for human trafficking, thanks to Operation Vigilant Guardian, a collaborative investigation to catch “Johns” looking to have sex with human trafficking victims online, according to a release from North Dakota U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon’s office.

Lakey was one of 14 arrested in WIlliston and Dickinson last fall in the sting when an officer posed as a juvenile offering sex for money. When Lakey arrived at the arranged hotel room in Dickinson in late November, he was arrested. A federal judge sentenced Lakey to five years in prison and he must register as a sex offender.

“When I learned that 14 people had been arrested in western North Dakota on charges of using the Internet to try and arrange sexual encounters with underage girls, I was deeply troubled. Human trafficking is, sadly, a growing concern in North Dakota,” Purdon said in the release. “The Operation Vigilant Guardian prosecutions show that the United States Attorney’s Office, with our state and federal law enforcement partners, will move swiftly and powerfully to attack the demand that fuels this horrible crime.”