Joseph Meili got five years probation at Greene County Court in Missouri for sexually abusing an 11 year-old girl, who later tested positive for chlamydia. He claims he believed her to be 18 – the age she put in her online dating profile (Pictures: Greene County Sheriff’s Office/Google Maps)A pedophile who molested an 11 year-old girl who later tested positive for chlamydia avoided being sent to jail after calling her a catfish.
Joseph Meili, 22, was sentenced to five years probation Friday for the July 2017 sex attack on the girl in Greene County, Missouri.
He managed to avoid a jail sentence after his lawyer Scott Pierson claimed he’d been ‘essentially catfished’ by the youngster, who he met on dating app MeetMe. Catfishing is a term used to describe people who lie about themselves in social media profiles.
According to the Jefferson City News Tribune, Meili argued he believed the girl was really 18, as her online profile stated. That claim was rubbished by prosecutor Elizabeth Fax.
She told HuffPo: ‘To actually see her in person…he knew and just decided to go along with it.’
After being assaulted by Meili, the girl tested positive for sexually transmitted infection chlamydia, pictured under a microscope (Picture: Std.gov.org)Meili’s victim used her mom’s phone to give him her address. The pedophile then drove over, picked her up, and brought her to his apartment in Springfield.
Her disappearance was soon noticed by her concerned family, and prompted a huge search by police and firefighters.
Dad films toddler’s delight at being collected from nursery every dayInvestigators say that search was underway while Meili was assaulting the child at his home.
She later returned home, and was found while packing a bag to leave again.
The youngster told cops she had fallen asleep at Meili’s apartment, and that when she woke up she believed something sexual had been done to her.
It is unclear whether the youngster was given drugs to knock her out.
The Springfield News-Leader says semen was found in the girl’s underwear, and that she later tested positive for sexually-transmitted infection chlamydia.
Jefferson was able to avoid prison thanks to a plea deal which saw him admit third degree molestation.
He had originally faced far more serious felony charges of statutory rape, statutory sodomy and kidnapping.
If he sticks to the terms of his probation, the child sex conviction could also be removed from his record after 2024.