An Arizona man accused of seeking sex with who he thought was a 14-year-old girl will serve seven years in jail and could face additional time in prison.
A jury found Steven Randall Schlesselman guilty of one count of computer pornography and child exploitation and one count of criminal attempt at child molestation. He was sentenced to 10 years on the criminal attempt at child molestation, with seven years to serve and three years of probation, according to Assistant District Attorney Ben Edwards.
Schlesselman, of Maricopa County, will have a sentencing hearing Thursday for the charge of computer pornography and computer exploitation.
Effingham County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Schlesselman last December at a gas station at the intersection of Highway 17 and Midland Road. According to investigators, he had flown from Phoenix to Atlanta and rented a car to drive to Effingham.
A detective, posing online as the mother of a 14-year-old girl, had made contact with Schlesselman and offered to exchange sex with the daughter — who did not exist — for an afternoon. The detective and Schlesselman, according to testimony in a bond hearing earlier this year, agreed upon a price of $175.
When Schlesselman made contact with the undercover agent, he was already on Interstate 16 and ended up at Honey Ridge Road and Highway 17.
Detectives also uncovered that Schlesselman had a regular group of prostitutes he visited and he also had arranged for two prostitutes at one time, with one of them having been molested at age 14. He had asked that prostitute to describe what happened to her while he was engaged in sexual activity with the other, according to testimony from that hearing.
Schlesselman’s trial was held over two days this week before Judge John Turner, and jurors spent two hours in deliberation before reaching a verdict Wednesday.
A grand jury has indicted an Effingham County man on four counts of aggravated child molestation and one count of sexual exploitation of children.
Brandon Fanning, 19, is charged with molesting a boy in November 2012 and making a video of that boy in sexually-explicit conduct, which he later shared. Fanning was arrested in early August and he was indicted in September.