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Minnesota man snared in West Fargo underage sex sting gets prison time

Ryan Dostal

FARGO — An Andover, Minn., man was sentenced to a year in prison and five years of probation on Monday, March 12, for trying to lure a minor to engage in a sexual act using a computer or another electronic device, according to Cass County District Court documents.

Ryan Dostal, 40, was caught in a West Fargo Police Department undercover sting that used a Craigslist ad for an "older for younger sexual fantasy," court documents stated.

Dostal was charged in November and pleaded guilty in late December. As part of his sentence, he received credit for four days already served in custody and must pay $775 in court fees, the documents said.

During the sting, police communicated with a man who said he wanted to give oral sex to a 14-year-old girl he thought he was communicating with, but the "girl" was actually a police officer, the documents said.

The man said he would meet the girl at a grocery store parking lot, and police later stopped a vehicle driven by Dostal. After Dostal was identified, he was allowed to go on his way, the documents said.

Police then reviewed the earlier communication, some of which included photos Dostal allegedly sent an investigator, which included a picture of himself, and another meeting was set up, the documents said.

Dostal arrived at the agreed upon parking lot on Nov. 17, and police arrested him, court documents said.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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