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New York man gets probation for online chat with teen girl

33-year-old exposed himself to teen, police say

Richard L. Smith, 33, of the 2800 block of Burnet Avenue, Syracuse, New York
Richard L. Smith, 33, of the 2800 block of Burnet Avenue, Syracuse, New York

Online conversations with a high school-aged girl will require a 33-year-old man to register as a sex offender after his guilty plea to a solicitation charge Friday.

A man from Syracuse, New York, pleaded guilty to chatting with a 16-year-old girl on Facebook Messenger. Prosecutors said the man had plans to sexually abuse the girl.

Richard Smith, of the 2800 block of Burnet Avenue, agreed to serve one year and six months of probation and 180 days in the McHenry County Jail for the most serious offense.

He accepted the plea deal Friday morning alongside his attorney, McHenry County Assistant Public Defender Angelo Mourelatos. The felony charge could have landed Smith in prison for two to five years.

Additional charges, including exploitation and a second count of indecent exposure of a child, were dismissed.

Police in August said Smith had sexually explicit conversations with a then-16-year-old girl on Facebook Messenger on at least two occasions.

During one of the chats, Smith exposed himself to the girl, the complaint stated.

It was not clear whether Smith and the 16-year-old knew each other outside of social media.

The terms of Smith’s plea deal require him to attend counseling and register as a sex offender.

Neither Mourelatos nor McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Rita Gara were available to provide details about Smith’s arrest.

Many of the records filed in the case were impounded and not available for public viewing because the charges were sexual in nature and involve a minor.

Smith is projected to be free from probation Nov. 25, 2019.

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