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Court ruling upholds online sex sting

The Washington Supreme Court, in a three-way opinion, has upheld the conviction of a man who tried to have sex with a 13-year-old girl he’d met online who really was a Spokane police detective.

All justices agreed with the ruling that upheld the attempted second-degree child rape conviction against Mitel H. Patel, (pictured) rejecting the man’s claim that the case should be thrown out because there was no actual underage victim.

Two sets of judges that agreed with the overall ruling but disagreed with the majority opinion submitted separate concurring opinions. “It’s really helpful to have some degree of clarification,” said Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Ed Hay, who supervises the sex offender unit. “It’s great to have some clarity and certainly will help investigators feel comfortable being proactive in their investigations.”

Read Tom Clouse’s story here.

Past coverage:

Dec. 2, 2004: Man charged with online sex solicitation