FARMINGTON A Swedish man accused of trying to arrange a sexual rendezvous with someone he believed to be a 13-year-old girl while on a trip to the United States has struck a plea deal with prosecutors.
Bjorn Larsson, 47, pleaded guilty here in 2nd District Court on Thursday to a single charge of enticing a minor over the Internet, a second-degree felony. In exchange, Davis County prosecutors dismissed the remaining counts of third-degree felony dealing in harmful materials to a minor.
Wearing a blue and white jail jumpsuit and speaking through an interpreter, Larsson said little during the hearing. Prosecutors agreed to an unusual sentence that lets him serve an additional 60 days in the Davis County Jail before he is deported to his native Sweden.
"It is not Utah's intent to destroy his life in prosecuting this matter," said deputy Davis County Attorney Richard Larsen. "Our intent is to impress upon him the seriousness of the acts."
Larsson's defense attorney, Mark Arrington, said his client faces more troubles once he returns home, blaming the Swedish media that has taken an unusual interest in the story of his arrest.
"His life has been ruined by this," Arrington said of the news coverage.
Larsson was arrested in July by a Layton police detective posing as a 13-year-old girl online. Prosecutors accused Larsson of trying to arrange a sexual encounter while planning a trip to Utah to visit relatives. A meeting was being set up, but Layton police recognized and arrested Larsson while at the community's annual Night Out Against Crime festivities.
"This incident was not his first," said Larsen. "He was chatting in November with an agent in Salt Lake regarding his visit."
Judge John Morris sentenced Larsson to serve up to 15 years in prison, but suspended the sentence in lieu of 60 days in jail. At that time, he will be deported and not allowed to return since he is a convicted felon. He was also ordered to pay a $500 fine.
The Swedish Consulate in Utah was involved in Larsson's defense and noted that in his native country, police cannot conduct operations such as the undercover sting that resulted in the arrest because it is considered entrapment. However, Larsson is subject to U.S. laws while here."What people need to know is you need to follow the law of the country you visit," said Swedish Consul Bjorn Ablad.
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