Burns to serve three years for sex offenses

A 24-year-old Minot man will serve about three years in prison for sex offenses.

James Arland Clyde Burns pleaded guilty in February in district court in Minot to Class B felony promoting a sexual performance by a minor and Class C felony luring a minor by computer. A Class C felony charge of possession of child pornography was dropped under the terms of a plea deal with the state.

Judge Doug Mattson sentenced him on Friday to five years in prison on the luring charge, with a requirement that he serve three years, and to seven years on the promoting a sexual performance charge, with a requirement that he serve three years. The sentences will be served concurrently. He will be on probation following his release from prison. Mattson also required him to complete sex offender treatment as a condition of parole and to register as a sex offender. Burns will get credit for the 359 days he has served in prison on the luring charge and for any good time he has earned.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed with the court, Burns fell for an online law enforcement sting on Sept. 1, 2016 and thought he was meeting a 16-year-old girl for sex. The 16-year-old was actually a law enforcement officer from the Ward County Sheriff’s Office who had posted a fake profile on the website Plenty of Fish. Sgt. Jason Kraft, working undercover, said in the profile that the fictitious female was 18, but he used a photo of a deputy that was taken when she was 16. Kraft, posing as the fictitious girl, also messaged Burns that she had lied about her age and was actually 16. Burns responded that he was 23, that a seven year age difference wasn’t bad and asked if the girl minded him being older. Burns was later arrested at the Splashdown/Sleep Inn arcade at Dakota Square, where he had set up a meeting after reportedly exchanging sexually explicit text messages with Kraft, who continued to pose as the girl.

Additional charges were later filed against Burns after police went through Burns’ cell phone.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in that case, police found explicit photographs and text messages on the phone. Burns had exchanged the messages with a 15-year-old girl who lives elsewhere in the state. The girl had completed an online profile at Meetme listing her true age. She told police that Burns’ profile listed his age as 14. At the time, he was 23. The girl continued exchanging the explicit photos and messages with Burns through Meetme and Snapchat.

Mattson said in court on Friday that a pre-sentence investigator said Burns has a “high moderate” risk of reoffending.

Burns is on probation in Ramsey County. A petition has been filed there to revoke his probation in a drug case.

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