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Gregg County man gets prison time in child solicitation

By Glenn Evans
Feb. 4, 2013 at 10 p.m.

A Gregg County man who thought he was meeting a 14-year-old boy for sex when he was arrested last year pleaded guilty Monday to online solicitation of a minor for sexual contact.

Christopher Scott Church, 35, was handed a 12-year sentence by 124th District Judge Alfonso Charles. He had faced up to 20 years for the second-degree felony.

Church was given credit for the 329 days he has spent in the Gregg County Jail since his March 13, 2012, arrest in a Longview Police Department sting in cooperation with the Dallas Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

According to evidence offered by Assistant District Attorney Chris Botto, Church and an undercover agent corresponded on Craigslist before moving to texts to each other's cellphones.

"The text messages were explicit about what (Church) wants to do and what he wants done to him," Botto said.

In one text, Church asked the agent, "Are you 18, because one of my friends got set up in a sting?"

The agent replied he was 14 years old and that it would be OK if Church wanted to wait four years before meeting.

Church's reply to that offer was very direct, and a fake date was set up. Church was arrested when he arrived at the Longview location.

"(The investigation) went on for about a month," Botto said. "He confessed to doing it, and they had his cellphone."

Church waived his right to appeal in pleading guilty Monday.



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