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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Former Southborough official sentenced in online sex sting

SOUTHBOROUGH

Former Southborough selectman William Christensen will not have to serve jail time for his conviction on charges of soliciting sex online from a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl.

But Christensen, who was arrested in an on-line sting operation in Massachusetts, still faces charges resulting from a similar operation in Rhode Island.

Plymouth Superior Court Judge Joseph M. Walker III sentenced Christensen to two and a half years in the Plymouth County House of Correction but suspended the sentence and assigned Christensen five years of probation on the condition that he register as a sex offender, stay away from minors, and off the Internet.

He also must continue counseling, pay a $2,500 fine, and accept random monitoring of his home computer use.

Prosecutors had pushed for a three-to-five-year sentence.

"We thought this sort of crime warranted jail time," said Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz. "The judge disagreed with us."

The 59-year-old retired software engineer was caught up in the Internet sting in May when he began chatting with and sending sexually graphic photos to an apparent 13-year-old girl in a Yahoo chat room. The girl was a female Plymouth Country deputy sheriff.

Christensen still faces charges in Rhode Island for allegedly arranging a rendezvous on-line with another undercover detective during the same week. Christensen was arrested in East Providence, where he allegedly planned to meet someone he thought to be a 15-year-old girl.

Christensen, a married father of two grown sons, was arrested shortly after being voted off the Board of Selectmen, on which he had served for 12 years. He has been free on $5,000 bail since May.

-- Carolyn Kessel Stewart

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