A Minnesota man accused of using cellphone contacts gleaned from his job at a Hudson Verizon store to send obscene messages to teenage girls was convicted last week in the case.
Barton Scott, 32, pleaded no contest to one felony count of exposing genitals to a child during a Nov. 4 hearing in St. Croix County Circuit Court.
He was originally charged with two counts of exposing a child to harmful material and three counts of sending a threatening computer message by way of obscenity.
St. Croix County Deputy District Attorney Michael Nieskes said a plea agreement reached between parties called for the allegations in those charges to be rolled into the sole count to which Scott entered the plea.
Scott was charged in June 2014 after two teenagers came forward to police, saying graphic text messages and photos of a man’s genitalia had been sent to their cellphones.
Authorities learned that in each case, the girls had gotten their phones serviced by the same man at the Hudson Verizon store, later identified in a criminal complaint as Scott. The graphic messages were sent from the same phone number, according to the complaint.
Additional investigation revealed a child whose phone was serviced at a Maple Grove Sprint store by a man named Bart also received similarly obscene messages, the complaint states. In that and other instances, messages were sent from an iCloud account.
The app SnapChat was also used to send obscene images and videos, one teen reported.
A search of Scott’s work locker revealed multiple Post-It notes with females’ names, email addresses, usernames and passwords written on them.
More similar notes were found on Scott when he was searched in jail.
Asked by police if he knew the girls were underage when he sent photos to them, Scott was mum, the complaint states.
The original charges filed against Scott would have included automatic sex offender registration; the charge to which he pleaded leaves registration up to a judge’s discretion.
Nieskes said the state will argue in favor of sex offender registration.
In spite of the plea agreement, Needham retains discretion to sentence Scott up to the maximum allowable time under the exposure charge - three and one-half years.
“I will decide what the sentence is,” he told Scott at the hearing.
Sentencing is set for Jan. 8, 2016.